Video Captures 80-Year-Old Woman Coming Out Of Parachute On Birthday Jump

One of my former students sent me this video of a harrowing experience of an 80-year-old woman named Laverne who almost falls out of her harness in a parachute jump. I have long collected “falling body” cases of torts involving falling human and animal bodies (which we discuss in class). This one will have to go into the negligence section, though ultrahazardous activities might be an option.

What is striking about the video is that the tandem instructor appears to be pushing the woman out of the plane and someone was peeling her fingers away from the door. Some have suggested that the harness was put on too loosely by the instructor. However, he seems to have done a remarkable job in holding on to the woman as they plummeted toward the ground.
The audible “no” heard on the tape would raise a question of consent or assumption of the risk in any legal action. Negligence in the preparation of the harness would be an obvious claim. The question of whether skydiving is an ultrahazardous or abnormally dangerous activity could be challenged by the industry on the basis for the low incidence of deaths or injuries. However, even flying has been listed as ultrahazardous in some states (though that has largely changed).

The Second Restatement describes the factors for ultrahazardous or abnormally dangerous activities:

the Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 520:

“In determining whether an activity is abnormally dangerous, the following factors are to be considered: (a) existence of a high degree of risk of some harm to the person, land, or chattels of others; (b) likelihood that the harm that results from it will be great; (c) inability to eliminate the risk by the exercise of reasonable care; (d) extent to which the activity is not a matter of common usage; (e) inappropriateness of the activity to the place where it is carried on; and (f) extent to which its value to the community is outweighed by its dangerous attributes.”

The company is very fortunate that the incident did not cause a heart attack in the elderly jumper. With the video of her being pushed out after saying “no,” the age of the woman would have worked heavily against the company. It is likely that many people have to be nudged out, but she seemed to be pretty resistant in the video. What do you think?

Kudos: Casey Fos

20 thoughts on “Video Captures 80-Year-Old Woman Coming Out Of Parachute On Birthday Jump”

  1. Just so you know. Amazingly KIWI is six years old and has been seen by over 32,000,000 pairs of eyes.
    I loved it. But am aware that it is porno for those who like their reality in sentimental doses. Me too.

  2. You all enjoyed the KIWI in your own ways.
    mine was remembering this story by Hemingway.
    “The short happy life of Francis Macomber.”
    About life ambitions and coming of age.
    The feelings were similar.
    If anybody sees ANON, give him the link. It’ll ocnfirm his worst convictions.

    ’By my troth, I care not; a man
    can die but once; we owe God a death and let it go which way it will, he that dies this year is quit for the next.’

  3. “I get “This video is private”.
    Would this indicate that legal moves are in the offing?”

    Apparently this happened LAST May.
    She is quoted in the video at the link above as saying she had consented.

    Perhaps this indicates that legal moves had already concluded.

    I’ve been curious since seeing this first at FARK who posted the video. I can’t imagine the Parachute Center posted it.

  4. FWIW, over here,

    In the video at the bottom, Ms. Everett says she was not forced out of the plane, but that she could not stand up enough to jump out, and that the instructor knew this and was helping her.

    There is also a lengthy description of the various other deaths and fines that one parachute center in Lodi has caused / is paying.

    She now wants to ride in a race car.

  5. Does she think she is George Herbert Walker Bush?
    Matt Johnson
    Well she might have gotten inspired of him on the flight deck, and said: “If he can walk on water, then I can fly”.

  6. Was surprised she was forced to jump; obviously she had changed her mind.

    I jumped once and was disappointed. You look forward to the feel of falling, but falling is relative; you don’t feel like you’re falling till you get eye-level with the trees. Most of the time was spent just hanging there. I decided that ping-pong is far more exciting.

  7. She withdrew consent before the jump. Her harness was too loose or came partially undone in the confusion.

    I considered a jump at one time. Went to the airport and watched the operation for awhile. Left without inquiry. I wasn’t sufficiently satisfied that the group wouldn’t eventually have a serious accident. I didn’t want that to be me. Will I try again at 80? Something to think about when I have nothing else to do.

  8. SlingTrebuchet
    1, May 28, 2012 at 8:52 am
    If this was in Florida,


    of course my first thought was “no means no”….

  9. OOPs, I thought it said 80 yr old woman comes out of parachute in birthday suit!……. yeah and I clicked on it anyways,.. Just checkin out what the field will look like for me in about 20 yrs.
    PS. I imagine men all over the world have so many commonalities, it is Just Barely possible at some future date… We will all be able to get along.
    May we all be thankful for the level of peace in our lives today, and those that helped establish rule of law and steps forward of civilization.
    Peace to us all on this Memorial Day.

  10. If this was in Florida,
    … and the instructor had pushed her out of the aircraft….

    Then if the woman had struggled to an extent that the instructor was in fear of not being able to open the parachute and descend safely, he could cut her free to fall away…and claim immunity under the Stand Your Ground Even In Mid Air Law from criminal and civil prosecution

  11. I presume tandem jumper/instructor is one who is harnessed together with the instructee? Does he get to cut her loose if his life is endangered? Or are instructors obliged to follow all the way down?

    Cui bono? Anyone on the waiting list of inheritants getting impatient?

  12. I am unable to share my torts with you on this.

    I get “This video is private”.
    Would this indicate that legal moves are in the offing?

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