Dramatic Video Shows British 'Red Devils' Paratrooper Saved Mid-Air After Parachute Fails

(Updates with comment from soldier)

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - A British army paratrooper from the country's famed Red Devils display team had a narrow escape in front of hundreds of spectators after he was caught mid-air by a fellow team member when his parachute failed to open properly.

The airshow in northwest England where the incident happened late on Friday said it was the first parachute fail in 25 years for the team, which is formed of 12 members of Britain's elite Parachute Regiment.

Spectators published dramatic photos and video on social media showing one soldier with a fully open parachute wrapping his legs around the ropes of his team mate's tangled parachute below.

"It was awful watching them struggling, especially when they veered off course -- until we realized they were purposely targeting the biggest area of water for ditching into," a spectator said on the airshow's Facebook page.

Both men were unharmed after landing in a nearby marina.

Speaking to broadcasters on Saturday, the soldier whose parachute failed to open, Corporal Mike French, said he owed fellow parachutist Corporal Wayne Shorthouse "a pint of beer, maybe," and that both had jumps scheduled for Sunday.

The Red Devils take part in more than 60 public displays a year. (Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Digby Lidstone and David Clarke)



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