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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Safety call after parachute death
Captain Daniel Wright
Captain Daniel Wright died on his second jump from 2,500 ft
The parents of a soldier who died during his first day's parachute training have called for better safety.

Captain Daniel Wright, of Cwmbran, south Wales, died in November 2005 at RAF Brize Norton, after his parachute failed to open properly.

An investigation found that he failed to activate his reserve parachute in time and that his death was not caused by procedural and training failures.

The MoD said accidents were rare and that it had an excellent safety record.

Mr Wright, who was in the special forces, was on his first day of parachute training with the Army Special Forces.

On his second jump from a height of 2,500 ft (762m) he tried to open his parachute but it only opened partially.

Eye witnesses saw him raising his hands and trying to control the chute by using the steering lines.

Irwin and Carol Wright
Irwin and Carol Wright want trainees to have a radio link-up (Pic South Wales Argus)

At the time he was less than a couple of hundred feet from the ground making it too late for the reserve parachute to be effective.

A board of inquiry could not explain why the original parachute had got stuck in its backpack or why Mr Wright had not acted more quickly to open his reserve.

It made recommendations on improvements in emergency training and said trainees should be provided with a bleeping warning device.

Captain Wright's parents have welcomed the recommendations but have said they still want answers as to why the original parachute failed to open.

They believe their son's death could have been prevented if radios had been used.

'Brotherly bond'

His father Irwin Wright said a lack of experience had also contributed to his son's death.

He said: "If there had been a longer period of training, a bit less rush perhaps, then I think he would be here today, I really do.

"I need answers as to why the parachute didn't open. Fundamentally that's why my son died."

Mr Wright said he missed the "brotherly bond" he had with his son.

Parachuting is an extremely, some would say dangerous, I would say risky undertaking, and the military training tries to de-risk that at every possible opportunity
Major Alan Davies

"This loss of friendship, of somebody who's vibrant, full of life, got loads to live for, it's those things that I find very difficult," he said.

He said the manner in which his son had died was "horrific".

"The sheer trauma of the accident and the fact perhaps it could have been prevented are the worst two things that sort of hang with me," he added.

The Ministry of Defence has offered sympathy to Captain Wright's family, but stressed that it had a good safety record. Military analyst Major Alan Davies said while accidents were rare, it must be accepted that they do happen occasionally.

"Parachuting is an extremely, some would say dangerous, I would say risky undertaking, and the military training tries to de-risk that at every possible opportunity," he told BBC Wales.

"There are people in the Army and the Royal Air Force who spend their lives de-risking parachuting to ensure that we can deliver our forces safely to the ground."



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