Miraculously, a good number of them walk away (or limp ... OK, are transported via emergency vehicle) virtually intact and unscathed. The latest almost-statistic: Paul Lewis, who fell 10,000 feet and crashed onto a hangar roof after his main parachute failed to open and his reserve chute malfunctioned. (Upside: he was 9,000 feet into his jump before he realized he was in serious trouble.)
And what does falling more than three football fields get you? If you're Davis, head and neck injuries, none too serious that he won't make a full recovery.
[Colin] Fitzmorris, who [owns the Parachute Centre and ] saw the accident happen, said: "He had a malfunction on his main parachute, which he cut away normally, but had some kind of control problem on his reserve which continued to spiral until he hit the hangar roof.Thank God for flexible metal hangar roofs, I suppose. Lewis jumped from 10,000 feet, but the Telegraph reports that skydivers have survived falls from greater heights. In 2007, Michael Holmes sustained only a punctured lung and a broken ankle after plummeting some 12,000 feet and crashing into a tree.
"The roof of the hangar broke his fall and flexed sufficiently to reduce the impact. He has no fractures but some neck injury, and we are sure that he will make a full recovery. He is very lucky."
And in 1972, Vesna Vulović set the world record (unwittingly I'm guessing, given the circumstances) after she fell 33,000 feet from an airliner that exploded in midair. "The 22-year-old landed in snow in the former Czechoslovakia," the Telegraph writes, as if it's as routine as walking outside to get the morning paper.