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Skydiver survives 3,500-foot plunge after chutes fail

From the archive: This story is more than 10 years old.

Skydiver survives 3,500-foot plunge after chutes fail

British woman suffers only a broken ankle in crash-land

  • A member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights prepares for a landing during a demonstration at the Texas State Fair in 1995.
    stevenM 61/FlickrA member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights prepares for a landing during a demonstration at the Texas State Fair in 1995.

It is a miraculous tale of survival.

U.K. skydiver Zoe Sievwright was certain she would die after not only her parachute failed but her reserve chute got tangled and she plunged 3,500 feet to the ground in Perthshire, in Scotland.

But after landing in soft, boggy ground she suffered only a broken ankle and no serious injury after the solo dive, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The 29-year-old's first parachute failed to open properly and a reserve chute became tangled in the first, leaving Sievwright to spiral to the earth in front of horrified onlookers, it says.

She landed about a mile away from the drop zone, during a memorial jump last Saturday, The Mirror reports.

"I was searching for toggles to pull but there weren't any," Sievwright said recovering in her hospital bed.

"The next thing I looked at the ground and that was it.

"I just thought that was it because there was nothing else I could do. I didn't think I was going to make it - I thought I was dead. I braced for impact and I don't really remember what happened after that. There was a bit of a shock but I didn't black out."

Rescuers took Zoe, from Dundee, to the city’s Ninewells Hospital for surgery on her ankle.

Her stepmum Joan told the Mirror: “She is recovering well but she is very shaken by the ordeal. She thought she was going to die.”

Skydive operators said the reserve chute was successfully deployed but that Sievwright had failed to release the steering toggles and other equipment associated with the main chute, causing the tangle.

Skydive Strathallan chairman Kieran Brady said there was not a problem with the parachute but human error was to blame, Scottish website, STV reported.

"The reserve parachute opened successfully but Zoe didn't remove the steering toggles and flare the canopy. That would have allowed her to land."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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scotland, skydiving, u.k.,

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