Recently there was a skydiving mishap where a student and a skydiving instructor made a tandem skydive from 15,000 feet at Paragon Skydive, located at the Grand Canyon Airport, and when they landed they were 2 miles from their landing zone. They were off course because the instructor made a mistake and jumped too early. When the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received the call they brought in a backhoe to find the skydivers but the backhoe got stuck in the snow. Shortly thereafter, the Park Service launched a helicopter and located the skydivers who were trudging through the snow to safety.
Skydiving is a very popular sport. There are approximately 35,000 members in the United States Parachuting Association. There are around 350,000 people that complete over 3 million jumps in one year. One of the biggest questions is “Exactly how dangerous is skydiving?” In 2012 there were 19 people that died in skydiving accidents. That is approximately one person for every 100,000 jumps. This is according to the reports from the United States Parachuting Association. If you were to make one jump a year your chances for dying in that jump is 1 in 100,000.
The question is “How do these statistics compare to other activities?”. Since the majority of adults in the United States drive a car we’ll compare driving to skydiving. Approximately 34,000 people died in 2012 due to traffic accidents. So that means your chances of dying in a car accident are about 1 in 6,000 providing you drive 10,000 miles a year. In other words there is a higher level of risk driving a car than there is in skydiving. There are also more fatalities in scuba diving. There are approximately 47 deaths out of 100,000 dives. The fatality rate for skydivers is about 0.006 per 1,000 jumps. According to these statistics skydiving is safer than driving a car or scuba diving.
So why do the majority of people think that skydiving is more dangerous than driving? One of the reasons pertains to the frequency. 19 skydiving fatalities, a year is somewhat infrequent. So when a skydiving fatality happens it makes the news so people know about it. As for car accidents, there are approximately 93 every day. It would drive the public crazy if they heard about every fatal car accident that took place on the news, which is why people only hear about some of them. This gives people the impression that car accidents don’t happen that often when in reality they are very frequent.
Another reason is the majority of people in the United States drive every day and nothing happens. So through experience it makes us believe that driving a car is safe. It’s only when there are statistics quoted that you realize that driving a car can be dangerous.
Bottom line? According to statistics skydiving is actually safer than driving a car. It’s because mishaps are not frequent that they make the news in the first place. If they were common place you would hardly hear about them. More people die in car accidents than in skydiving accidents. Think about it.