Kirsten Moriarty tries on a wing-diving suit in readiness for when she can return to her loved sport of sky diving. She has spent seven months recovering from a near-death parachuting accident.
Kirsten Moriarty tries on a wing-diving suit in readiness for when she can return to her loved sport of sky diving. She has spent seven months recovering from a near-death parachuting accident. David Nielsen

Electrocuted skydiver jumps again

KIRSTEN Moriarty’s 206th jump started like any other but ended in a nightmare.

On July 10 last year Ms Moriarty took her friend Jodie Bell skydiving, flying out from the Brisbane Skydiving Centre at Willowbank.

Ms Bell was making a tandem jump with an instructor.

By the time the group jumped they were outside the drop zone, but that was not unusual.

But the dive went horribly wrong when Ms Moriarty was unable to see powerlines which were suspended from posts 800 metres apart, becoming tangled and suspended by her left leg.

She received deep electrical burns to her ankles, thighs, neck and chest after being shocked by 11,000 volts.

Her heart stopped but restarted after the current shorted out.

Ms Moriarty, 33, then endured a two-hour wait, suspended from the powerlines at Mutdapilly, until emergency services freed her.

She said she could not feel the pain of her third-degree burns while hanging from the power- lines, and despite being conscious it did not seem like two hours.

“I am so lucky to be alive,” Ms Moriarty said.

Specialist burns doctors rushed to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital after hearing of Ms Moriarty’s crash on the radio and waited for her to arrive.

She had 16 operations, spent more than three months at the RBH, and for a while it was “touch and go” whether she would lose her legs.

Ms Moriarty has nothing but praise for the team of doctors and nurses who treated her.

She faces months of physio- therapy but cannot wait to get back to the sport she loves.

“Knowing that I would go back to it was something that got me through some very difficult times in the hospital,” she said.

She had completed the 200 jumps required to start “wing diving”, which is done in a specialised suit, but her ambitions were set back after having seven months off due to the accident.

Ms Moriarty said she had been trained to remain calm.

“I knew help was on its way,” she said.

“If you hit powerlines, you just have to stay there til help comes.”

She said the accident would never have happened if pilot balls were on the powerlines to alert skydivers.


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