A UNIVERSITY student has described the moment he plummeted from the sky after the parachute on his first skydive became entangled.
Miraculously, Liam Byrne, 18, escaped injury after landing 30ft up a tree.
He was rescued by firefighters and about an hour later was able to calmly descend a set off ladders from the tree unscathed.
Liam was taking his first parachute jump along with fellow students from Northumbria University at Shotton Airfield when the incident happened.
He described how he was helped via radio contact with airfield staff and said: “I jumped out of the plane and had an entanglement, or a twister.
“I couldn’t get out of it so they told me to pull the reserve cord.
“So I pulled the reserve, but the reserve got caught in the main parachute and I lost control and landed in a tree. The fire service came and got me out.”
It is lucky that the tree broke his fall, as chiefs at Peterlee Parachute Centre, based at the airfield, said he could have had a more serious injury had he hit the ground or nearby St Saviour’s Church.
Liam, who is originally from Doncaster, said: “I was glad I didn’t hit the church or the fence below but it was quite scary.
“I made sure I grabbed onto the tree until someone came and found me.”
He joked his miraculous escape was “all in a day’s work” but admitted he will be wanting to take time to get over his experience before he attempts another parachute jump.
Liam, who had had training jumps on Friday and Saturday, thanked the firefighters who rescued him.
Airfield owner Ian Rosenvinge said: “He is perfectly okay.
“When he exited the plane he didn’t exit in the correct fashion, unfortunately.
“The lines of the parachute entangled around his arm and therefore while the parachute was deployed he didn’t have proper control over it.
“Thankfully the lad’s alright.”
Two fire crews from Peterlee and one from Durham City rescued Ben using a ladder and a system to haul him out of the branches.
He was checked over at the scene by paramedics.
A station spokesman said: “He was okay, he was just still in his harness and we had to get him down quickly.”
The incident happened around 5.15pm on Saturday.