Man Arrested After Wife's Parachute Fails to Open & She Survives Fall

Imagine surviving a terrifying 4,000-ft fall after your parachute fails to open, suffering from broken bones, fractures, and mental distress—only to learn the person you trusted most in life had been arrested on the suspicion that he purposely sabotaged your parachute and tried to kill you. What seems like so much more than any one person can take in her life is reality for 39-year-old Victoria Cilliers.


Cilliers and her husband, Emile, who is a British Army sergeant, were flying over Salisbury Plain with the intention of jumping out of their plane with parachutes and landing safely on the ground.

But when Victoria tried to release her main chute, she realized it was busted. And the same horrific thing happened when she tried to open her reserve chute. Miraculously, the chute opened partially, just enough for her to descend slowly enough so that she survived a 4,000-ft drop. She is being treated for several serious injuries, but oh my goodness, let's not make light of this—she survived a 4,000-ft drop!

When detectives investigated, they discovered there were several "slinks" or soft links, missing from Victoria's parachute, which connect the canopy to the harness, and all fingers pointed at Emile.

Emile has been arrested and questioned and has since been released on bail.

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I can't begin to imagine how this woman feels. Assuming there isn't more to this story then we have already learned—like, that Emile has confessed to Victoria—we have no way of knowing whether she truly believes her husband is even capable of something this horrific. If he did do it, were there signs? Why in the hell can't you just get divorced if you don't want to be with someone?

It's also possible that he is innocent and that the parachute simply wasn't functioning. But the fact that she has to live not knowing the truth is worse than actually knowing and dealing with it.

What do you think you would do if you were this woman?


Image via Oleg Klementiev/Flickr

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