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A 30-year-old Queenstown man was airlifted to Dunedin hospital with suspected spinal injuries after his parachute gave way near Jack's Point in Queenstown.
Senior constable Chris Blackford said the shoot had twisted and collapsed near Jardine Park last night.
He was one of four local skydivers who had set out to try a new "speed flying" type of jump, a form of paragliding involving flying closer to the ground than usual.
Queenstown police and the Coast Guard were called out to a search last night at 9.15pm when they received an emergency call the man was missing after being the first of four jumpers.
The other three did not jump following the incident.