Skydiver Injured in 12,000-Foot Jump; Facebook Strangers Rally to Pay His Bills


Cornick was doing a complicated maneuver called "swooping" when he came in at a 90-degree angle at about 40 miles per hour and crashed into the van, according to Tim Joyce, owner and chief instructor of Skydive Fiji, which employed Cornick.

Joyce told that he had warned Cornick not to do the maneuver with his small high-performance parachute.

"We actually discourage that over here because of the high risk," he said. "It's like a Formula One car driving on the road. ... It was a combination of a very high-speed maneuver and no margin of error."

"He misjudged or was too low to carry out the whole thing," said Joyce. "It's not an illegal thing to do, but it can cause obvious problems, and I don't want my staff to be injured. In 10 years, we've never had anything related to this, and it was very distressing."

Joyce also said that the company had urged Cornick to buy personal insurance, but he declined.

Davies said his cousin thought he was insured for all jumps and disagreed with Joyce's account of what happened. "Ben has jumped that same parachute the same way over 1,000 times," he said.

Both Joyce, who viewed the video of the jump, and Davies agreed that in the end, the van likely saved Cornick's life.

"If he had gone in the direction of the van and tried to turn that low to avoid it and popped on to the ground, he would probably be dead now," said Davies.

The family is talking by phone to Cornick "five times a day," knowing that money is better spent on medical treatment than on a 24-hour fight from England to New Zealand, said Davies. "He needs every penny we can get."

Davies said today that the family had now met their fundraising goals.

As for his recovery, Davies said it would be at least a year until his cousin skydives again. "We just have to wait and see what the long term damage is."

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