A PARACHUTIST is seriously injured in hospital after hitting the gable end of a house in a skydiving accident.

Emergency crews were called out to Station Road in Shotton Colliery, near Peterlee, at around 3pm on Sunday after shocked residents raised the alarm.

The man, who suffered multiple injuries and was knocked unconscious, was suspended in his harness when the canopy got caught on the roof.

Householder Alan Stainsby, 71, who was watching the Wimbledon men’s single final, at the time, said: “I heard a thud while I was in the house. I thought it was a car accident to be honest.

“I came out of the house and looked around and saw the chap suspended.

“We phoned 999 and got all of the emergency services out.”

Bricklayer Dave Lunn, 42, who lives next door also came to help after hearing a loud bang.

He said: “The parachute has ended up on the roof and he has slammed into the wall.

“The emergency services were saying how lucky he was. Most people don’t tend to walk from something like that.

“If he not have hit the side of the house he would have been dead.”

It is understood the parachutist is in his 40s and may not have been particularly experienced.

Mr Lunn said: “It appears the parachute was all open and he had come down in the right line. There was someone behind him.

“But he has come down and gone in the wrong direction. He should have gone left but he has gone right by accident.”

The man was brought down by firefighters based at Peterlee from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.

Graeme Metcalf, the fire service’s group manager, said: “He has obviously had some kind of mishap and has hit the gable end of a house adjacent to Shotton Primary School.

“He has suffered quite serious injuries. We would describe them as multiple injuries.”

The man’s condition is not believed to be life-threatening.

Mr Metcalf said: “He has been suspended on the gable end of the house by the parachute.

“He has obviously hit the side of the house at some speed and he has been trapped there.

“Our crews have turned up and got a ladder up to him, set a rope system up and put a harness around him and then we have lowered him down to paramedics and air ambulance staff.”

The man was treated at the scene and transported to hospital by the Great North Air Ambulance, which had landed at the school.

The incident happened near Peterlee Parachute Centre at Shotton Airfield where the man had taken off from.

The Northern Echo:

Pamela Gower

It is almost three years since Pamela Gower, 49, was fatally injured after landing on a parked car in a housing estate after taking off from the centre.

Sunday’s accident has been referred to British Parachute Investigation so an investigation can be carried out.

Mr Stainsby added: “We are keeping our fingers crossed that he is okay.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”