Yelling man’s skydive course for charity starts with a crash landing

Terrifying skydive

Terrifying skydive - Credit: Archant

A Yelling man who is in California on an intensive course to qualify as a solo skydiver to raise money for a muscular dystrophy charity was lucky to escape with minor injuries after his first jump went badly wrong.

Derrick Mabbott, 50, underestimated the height of the airfield and rather than landing at walking pace, he hit the ground at 25-30mph, which is more than enough to cause significant injuries.

He said: “My first-ever skydive on Tuesday [June 16] was wonderful, exhilarating and one of the biggest sensory overloads of my life. However, when it came to landing, I made a pig’s ear of it.”

Despite Derrick’s legs taking the initial impact, he went head over heels before coming to a rest like a “sack of potatoes”, according to his instructor.

As reported in The Hunts Post two weeks ago, Derrick is doing the course to raise money for Dan’s Hope. The charity was set up by Debra and James McLellan, of Hemingford Grey, the parents of six-year-old Dan who suffers from Ullrich muscular dystrophy, an extremely rare form of the condition.

Derrick is covering all the costs of the course, travel and accommodation, so all donations will go to the charity.

“On Tuesday [June 16] evening I felt quite low,” he continued. “I was very tired, very sore and badly bruised, and I think I was in shock. I was sick a couple of times and that made me feel better. But I really wondered if I could do another jump.

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“To be honest, I was scared. I knew I’d been very lucky and kept dreaming about the ground rushing up at me. I might not be so lucky a second time. But I thought about why I am doing this, about my friends, Debs and James, and their boys Charlie and especially Dan. I know how brave they are.”

The Accelerated Free Fall course at SkydiveXtreme is aimed at teaching students to be qualified solo skydivers within two weeks. It includes at least 18 successful jumps over eight levels, all of which are from 13,000ft with the parachute being deployed at 5,000ft. The final jump has to be completely solo and from 5,000ft.

Derrick is up to level five with five days of the course to go.

INFORMATION: To sponsor him, donate £10 by texting ULLR70 to 70070, or visit To see a video of Derrick’s skydiving, go to