AN experienced skydiver with 4,000 jumps to his name was killed when he misjudged a landing on a Gambian beach and hit the ground at speed, a coroner heard.
Christopher Carroll, a former Parachute Regiment member and Falklands War veteran, plummeted to earth during his second jump of a 10-day skydiving holiday with a club in the African country.
An inquest heard that the 54-year-old, from Ash Lane, Etwall, suffered a punctured lung and fractured spine as he missed the target landing area, and he was pronounced dead in front of horrified members of his party.
Peter Bedford, senior coroner for Berkshire, heard Mr Carroll had travelled to Banjul, the country’s capital, with more than 30 other enthusiasts on November 15 last year.
Herman Landsman, a Dutch skydiving instructor and organiser of the event, said in a statement: “Chris was seen to go down-wind of the target landing and ended up over a grassy area near the beach. He then made a left turn in an attempt to turn into the wind. This was a radical move and made the canopy dive towards the ground.”
The inquest heard he had attempted to pull out of the dive, but he was too close to the ground to complete the manoeuvre.
Two nurses and a firefighter who were at the event gave CPR and an ambulance and police were called, but a doctor pronounced Mr Carroll dead at the scene. John Carroll, Christopher’s brother, told the inquest his sibling was ‘extremely experienced’ as a skydiver.
A post-mortem examination carried out at the Edwards Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul found he suffered four broken ribs, which punctured his lungs, and had also suffered from shock.
A follow-up examination in Reading showed he had also suffered a fractured spine and hip.
No faults were found in his gear and Mr Carroll had no medical concerns that could have contributed to the crash.
Mr Bedford recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Speaking after the inquest, John Carroll said: “He just loved skydiving. If he could have spent more time doing it he would have done. If he had to pick a way to go it would have been while skydiving.”