While certainly not a common occurrence, the practice of having a sporting events’ game ball delivered by a skydiver is probably over. While the safety of the diver has always been in question, nobody really ever considered that the crowd might be in the line of fire as well, should a diver go astray. And in France, one definitely went astray. The argument for domed stadiums just got unexpectedly stronger.
Prior to a Ukraine-France soccer match near Orleans, France, on Thursday, a group of seven skydivers were supposed to land on the field, with the last delivering the match’s official game ball. Unfortunately, in the world of skydiving, going 6-for-7 on successful landings is a very bad thing.
The bearer of the game ball, Sylvain Chabrol, had a malfunction with his parachute and careened off a floodlight before descending upon the crowd.
Chabrol’s death is certainly a tragedy, but there are inherent risks in jumping out of an airplane willingly. A bigger tragedy in this case was the fate of two teenage fans who were getting ready to enjoy a soccer game when a dude just came flying out of the sky and landed on them. The DAILY MAIL has the awful details.
“Suddenly there was a loud crash as he landed at high speed at two youngsters near the side of the pitch waiting for the game to start.” Local mayor Jean-Pierre Garnier said: “It was a truly appalling accident.
“It was supposed to be a happy occasion, with the added attraction that the ball was being delivered from the air.”
A police spokesman said the 17-year-old named as Quentin had suffered serious injuries while the 16-year-old suffered fractures and bruising. Both were being treated at hospital in Orleans.
Though not confirmed in the Mail’s story, a commenter on the original article claims that the 17-year-old has also died.
It’s a horrible accident, and should just about put to rest the idea of this being done any more. Just a few weeks ago a skydiver’s attempt to deliver the game ball at a minor league baseball game went awry and he crashed down beyond the outfield fence. Luckily, he was OK:
Please, just stop with this crap. Or at least make sure the stuntmen are properly loaded up on Mountain Dew before attempting any of this again.