A Red Lions skydiver was involved in a midair drama yesterday when he had to cut off his parachute while descending to the Padang during the rehearsal for the National Day Parade.
The jumper, who has not been named, was the first of five.
He managed to deploy his back-up parachute before landing safely on the parade grounds to cheers from the invited crowd.
Some onlookers managed to photograph the detached parachute falling through the air. There were moments of fear that the freefaller was in danger.
The NDP executive committee insisted that yesterday’s 10-minute long freefall display “was executed as planned”.
At deployment height, one of the jumpers’ first parachute went into a twist, a common occurrence while parachuting.
SPOKESMAN, NDP executive committee
“At deployment height, one of the jumpers’ first parachute went into a twist, a common occurrence while parachuting,” a spokesman said. “The jumper assessed that he could not clear the twist in time, and cut away the first parachute to deploy his reserve parachute, landing safely within the designated area in the Padang.
“There were no injuries sustained,” the spokesman added.
Aviation enthusiast Ow Eng Tiong, 41, who regularly attends the Red Lions display which is held annually, witnessed the incident from a nearby street.
“I could see that his parachute had not opened completely,” he told The Sunday Times.
“I saw him spiralling down like a corkscrew and falling faster than usual. I knew that something was wrong. But I presume he is fine since the second parachute worked,” he added.
The last known parachute accident at the parade was in 2005, when a Red Lion fractured his pelvis as a result of a bad landing at a rehearsal. The Red Lions display, a perennial crowd favourite, takes place before the ceremonial military parade.
This year, the military parade will feature more than 2,000 people in 37 contingents, among them representatives of 16 public- and private-sector bodies.
Colonel Simon Lee, who oversees the parade and ceremony segment, said 42 companies and organisations had applied to march on Aug 9.
Col Lee said: “There is only so much we can pack in. We want a good mix to show the various facets of total defence… we select those that best represent the Singapore identity.”
Among the marchers will be Sembcorp Design and Construction managing director and former People’s Association chief, Mr Yam Ah Mee, 58.
The former air force brigadier- general, who will lead the Sembcorp contingent, said: “The chance to march in a Jubilee parade does not come by often. I can also catch up with old friends and bond with all the youth.”