Speed and Precision: Duluth Airshow’s medical teams jump to work during parachuting accident
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- A member of the U.S. Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team is in stable condition after a landing accident during the Duluth Airshow on Saturday.
“I actually happened to be on the front line when it happened,” said Jennifer Merlis, an Emergency Physician with Essentia Health. “I just hopped the barricade yesterday and then the rest of the team was already there within a few minutes after.”
While thousands stood frozen in shock, the airshow’s emergency and medical response team jumped the fence and sprang into action, getting to the scene in a matter of seconds.
“We were all working in a coordinated fashion just to provide the care that we needed,” said Merlis. “Fortunately, Life Link was here. They arrived on scene to help supply aid and transport immediately.”
The swift precision and teamwork that came from the airshow’s first responders got the injured parachuter off the ground, and in the air 30 minutes later.
“The airshow is required to respond to an incident in 60 seconds. On Saturday, we responded in 15 seconds,” said Jodi Grayson, Duluth Airshow’s media coordinator. “He is in stable condition right now, had to undergo some surgeries and has a few more to go, but from what I am told he is in good spirits.”
Speed may have played a massive role in saving the life of a performer, and helping all who need assistance during Minnesota’s largest air show.
“Having all the different pieces where everybody can coordinate and get the resources that are needed, is crucial,” said Merlis.
Following the incident, all demonstration teams were given another debrief on emergency and safety procedures.
The Leap Frog parachute team did opt out of participating in the Sunday show as they wait for the official accident investigation report.
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