Horror as RAF instructor films own death after parachute fails to deploy during jump


An RAF instructor's parachute failed as she was filming her 12,000ft fall, leading to her unwittingly capturing her own death.

Sergeant Rachel Fisk, 32, fell to her death at 120mph within moments of making a film of other parachutists jumping in tandem as part of a training exercise on September 2, 2021 at RAF Weston-on-the-Green airfield in Oxfordshire. 

An RAF source told the Mail on Sunday: "It was a freak accident, an absolute tragedy. I hate to think what Rachel’s last thoughts were."

A military investigation has now revealed what went wrong during the jump. 

It has in part been informed by the footage filmed on a GoPro camera attached to Sgt Fisk's head.

Sgt Fisk was conducting an exercise with catering staff from RAF Marham in Norfolk.

During this exercise, novices are attached to more experienced free-fallers.

Following three successful jumps, Sgt Fisk swapped her first parachute system out for her second, after noticing some twists in the rigging lines of the first.

A report has now revealed that Sgt Fisk was the last parachutist to jump out of a Cessna plane, and the final jump started without incident, with the experienced jumper filming one of the tandem pairs in free fall until they reached an altitude of around 5,000ft, when they deployed their chute.

But Sgt Fisk then continued to fall further and was “displaying a small amount of body movement” when the ground came into view.

The GoPro footage revealed that seconds before her death, she looked upwards, with the tape revealing that her reserve chute had become tangled and could not be deployed.

The final frame of the video was taken 0.034 seconds before impact.

While colleagues initially assumed she had landed safely, the tragedy became apparent when she could not be located, and emergency services were called at around 5.30pm.

The report found that Sgt Fisk’s parachute failed because of air turbulence produced by her body.

It added that her non-RAF issue jumpsuit may have contributed to the tragedy.

Commenting on the tragedy, Sgt Fisk’s family said: "It is with great sadness that we mourn the death of our dear daughter, Rachel. She lived her life with joy and thoughtfulness for others and loved the career she had chosen. Rachel will be missed by so many."

The RAF said: "Our thoughts remain with Sgt Fisk’s family. The inquiry into this tragic accident is now complete and we will carefully consider the recommendations and take necessary actions.

"She lived life with joy and loved her career."

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