Empty parachute pulled from GH Township bayou; skydiver safely lands with reserve

Becky Vargo • Jul 7, 2019 at 8:10 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP.— Emergency crews responding to a possible water rescue on Pottawatomie Bayou Saturday night eventually learned there was only a parachute in the water and that a skydiver had safely landed at Grand Haven Airport instead.

Ottawa County Central Dispatch received multiple reports, at about 8:50 p.m. Saturday that a person with a parachute had landed in the bayou and not surfaced, according to Sgt. J. Douglas of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Scanner traffic indicated that an airplane was circling overhead and a couple of kayakers were paddling to the parachute. Emergency crews responded to nearby Lake Avenue, while others were directed to launch a rescue boat at the township boat launch at 144th Avenue just off Mercury Drive.

Further investigation revealed that members of Sky Dive Grand Haven were conducting business at the Grand Haven Airport when one of their skydivers experienced a parachute malfunction with the main parachute, Douglas said. The person was able to cut away his primary parachute and deploy his reserve parachute before safely landing at the Grand Haven Airport.

The parachute that fell into the Pottawatomie Bayou was the primary parachute that had been cut away. Nobody was attached to the parachute when it fell into the bayou.

Bystanders recovered the parachute and returned it to the staff of Sky Dive Grand Haven.

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