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Woman dies after parachute fails to open and she crashes into parked car

The woman parachutist fell to the ground in Shotton Colliery, County Durham. Credit: Google street view

A parachutist has died after her chute failed to open and she crashed into a parked car on a housing estate.

Durham Police said the 49-year-old woman was from Hebburn, South Tyneside, and had jumped before but not in the UK.

A witness said she was "spinning like a top" as she fell to the ground.

She was seriously injured and flown by air ambulance to hospital following the devastating impact in Shotton Colliery, County Durham.

A wtiness said she did not scream and had her legs and arms open prior to hitting the hatchback which was parked outside a detached home on a cul-de-sac on the outskirts of the village.

Residents reportedly carried out CPR on the woman, who had a bad head injury despite wearing a helmet, before paramedics arrived.

A witness, who did not want to be identified, was in his garden when he saw a group of parachutists jump out of their plane.

He said: "I see them every day so I don't take much notice but this one made me look up. I could hear a fluttering noise and it sounded unusual.

"I could see it was not the main parachute, because they're massive. It was so close to the ground."

"I honestly thought it was a dummy because there was no movement from her. She looked as though she was unconscious. She was not screaming.

"All I can see is her spinning like a top."

The man heard the impact of the woman hitting the car, which he said was "an almighty clatter", but he did not see it.

The witness said a paramedic from the skydiving club was quickly on the scene and a friend of the parachutist was also quickly there and was distraught.

Durham Police said the death will be investigated by police, the Health and Safety Executive and the British Parachute Association.

This is a tragic incident. The lady who has died was using her own equipment and was making her first sky dive in this country, having previously made parachute jumps abroad.

We will be working with the HSE and the British Parachuting Association to establish why this tragedy happened."

– Detective Inspector Dave Cuthbert