Falling Photos

Surviving a 10,000 ft Drop and Four Cold, Snowy Winters

Falling Photos

Disclaimer: We do not recommend dropping your camera out of plane (both for the camera’s sake and people on the ground) and we can’t guarantee that your memory card will survive the drop or four harsh Canadian winters. We’ve tested our SanDisk SD™ memory cards for drops up to 5 meters (16.4 feet), up to 72 hours in 1 meter of water, and down to -13ºF (-25ºC) for the equivalent of 28 hours. You can find all of the tests at http://www.sandisk.com/proof


Skydiving has been my passion for more than 11 years—in that time I’ve done over 360 jumps. Four years ago, I went out to do a few jumps with friends at my club in New Brunswick, Canada. After a couple of morning jumps, we headed up to altitude in the Cessna jump plane again.



As we reached altitude, I noticed that the camera mount for my DSLR on my helmet wasn’t working right, so I left my camera with the pilot before jumping.

Shortly after we jumped, the pilot banked the plane and the camera fell out when the next group of skydivers left the plane. The plane was at about 10,000 feet when it fell. A guy in my group said he saw the camera falling past us—thankfully none of us were its way!



After we landed, the pilot told me what happened. He felt awful that he had lost my camera. We searched the ground for the next couple of hours, to no avail.

My skydiving club moved locations shortly after that jump to a new airfield about 30 minutes away and I wrote off any chance of ever finding my camera with all of my photos.

Almost four years later, out of the blue, I got an email from a fellow skydiver who happened to be in a photography group. She said that one of the group’s members found a camera with pictures of skydivers on the memory card.



It’s an ongoing joke at our skydiving club that the pilot lost my camera, so they thought it might be mine. Surprisingly, it turned out that it was! After a few emails, I arranged to meet the finder. He wanted to hand-deliver the camera. Needless to say, it was in pretty bad shape.



He found the camera while walking his dog in a park near the airfield where we used to skydive. I was shocked that someone had actually found the camera.



What was even more shocking was that my pictures survived! Not only had the camera fallen from over 10,000 feet, but it had endured four brutally cold, snowy Canadian winters.

I still skydive regularly, but I no longer carry a DSLR. Instead, I take a GoPro with me that easily—and securely!—attaches to my helmet. It has a SanDisk Memory Card in it at all times! 


Story by: Jonathan Nichols

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