Jump club faces writ after disaster dive

Roger Pearson finds Headcorn Parachute Club back in the news again

Headcorn Parachute Club is on the receiving end of litigation issued by 24-year-old Elyse Gorham, who suffered devastating injuries when her first tandem jump with another parachutist went wrong.

She blames the club for what happened.

Gorham claims that she hit the ground at 40mph after seams split on a reserve parachute in the accident at Headcorn. She will tell the court that during the jump she and another parachutist, Chris Murphy, who was undergoing an evaluation, were harnessed together. Murphy was above her and in control. They jumped out of an aircraft at 10,000 ft.

She claims Murphy tried to make a turn but failed and that they began to spin fast and out of control.

When attempts to open the drogue parachute failed the reserve parachute was deployed but its seams split.

Gorham, of Matfield, Kent, suffered a fracture to her right thigh, fractures to both feet, a fractured pelvis and five fractured ribs, spent four weeks in hospital, needed protracted rehabilitation, and is in constant pain from the injuries which are said to have affected every aspect of her life.

She has difficulty walking, finds it impossible to run or take part in her pre-accident hobbies of tennis, hockey and windsurfing, and has difficulty in swimming and walking. She also has extensive scarring and psychological damage, is handicapped on the labour market, and is to claim damages for her future loss of earnings and the future cost of care.

The action comes only months after the club was involved in unique High Court action against the estate of barrister Tatiana Pond in respect of damage she caused to a plane when she landed on it after a parachute drop at a Kent airfield.