Small Format Camera Incident

It is with a sad tone I make this post. Kylie “Buffy” Tanti died in a BASE jump in Malaysia off the Alor Setar tower Sept 28th, 2010. BSBD :(

Reports are saying that it was related to a bridle entanglement on her GoPro camera mounted on her helmet that she was unable to clear in time.

World News Australia, Source: AAP (no longer valid link)

An excerpt from a first hand report posted on

her exit was a little head low. she hold her pilot tight and totally closed in her hand. she pitched after half a second. The pitch was firm, but a little low.
Her bridle entangled (about 60 cm below the pilot) her gopro, what was attached on her helmet. she tried to fight it off, but was too late. her canopy was inflating on the moment of impact.
the combination of the low height (for incidents as this), the head low, the pitch, wind and the gopro became fatal.

Please take a moment everyone to reflect on your camera flying gear and usage. There have been a lot of discussions surrounding small format cameras and how they should be treated. I hope this incident at the very least is a wake up call to anyone who is in a state of delusion that these small format cameras pose any less of a snag hazard than their bigger rivals.

How many times have you heard “…the GoPro mount will snap if snagged…”, it didn’t for Kylie.

Let’s not even get into the whole “I’ve got less than 200 jumps but I can fly a GoPro because x, y, z…” On second thought, maybe I will get into it a little. I’m not saying this had anything to do with Kylie’s incident at all, I’m just referring to the mentality in general. I don’t want to single anyone or any place out specifically, and I certainly don’t want to sound like a broken record….. BUT I see far too many people strapping on these small format cameras either before they really should, or onto non-camera helmets.

What does “before they should” mean?

According to the USPA SIM Section 6-8 among other recommendations are a C license (200 jumps minimum) and 50 recent jumps on the same parachute equipment to be used for camera flying.

But in reality this should be a question the individual skydiver should ask and answer honestly of themselves. This 200 jump number is just a number, just because someone has 201 jumps doesn’t mean they are automatically ready to fly camera. Talk to knowledgeable trusted camera flyers, coaches, instructors and s&ta’s if you have any questions or concerns.

What’s a non-camera helmet?

If you don’t know the answer please ask a knowledgeable trusted camera flyer, instructor, or s&ta. I often see these small format cameras mounted to helmets that were not designed to be camera helmets. The most obvious exclusion from these helmets are a breakaway system. How many fullface helmets have you seen with a GoPro attached? How many fullface helmets have you seen with a cutaway system? Exactly my point, that just screams danger will robinson. Heavens forbid you end up in an entanglement that you can’t clear… not pretty.

What are your thoughts?

I welcome discussion, only good can come of it I hope.

Some more food for thought, Douglas Spotted Eagle has composed a list of Small Format Camera Incidents, I invite you to read through them.

Be as safe as you can everyone, and keep an eye out for your fellow skydivers.

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