A British paratrooper whose parachute failed to open correctly sustained only “minor injuries” after a 15,000ft fall took him through the roof of a house in California, crashing into the kitchen in a burst of insulation and roofing material.
The soldier, who was not immediately named, jumped out of a plane during a High Altitude Low Opening (Halo) exercise, a technique used by special forces. He lost control as he approached the ground near Camp Roberts, in Atascadero.
According to a local TV station, KSBY, the accident happened around 5pm on 6 July.
Several neighbours saw the parachutist spiraling in the air. Photographs from the scene showed a hole in the tiled roof of the home and a soldier, wearing SAS uniform, in the kitchen surrounded by debris.
Neighbours rushed to the house.
“I ran in to make sure he was OK and I checked on him and his eyes were open but I wasn’t sure if there were any injuries. I didn’t want anyone to move him,” Rose Martin told KSBY.
“It’s a miracle in my estimation, really. I mean, who lands like that without a parachute and lives?”
Linda Sallady, the homeowner’s mother, said: “Came through the roof, through the tresses and there’s not that much damage in the house. It’s amazing. It’s mostly the ceiling, the sheetrock. He missed the counters, appliances, everything.”
Atascadero police said the parachutist was “conscious but stunned with complaints of pain but no visible serious injuries”.
He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The British Ministry of Defence said in a statement: “There has been a parachuting incident involving a British soldier training alongside American allies in California. The soldier received minor injuries and is recovering well.”