Time in Sport: 21 years
Total Number of Jumps: 17,000-plus
Skydives Within the Last 12 Months: 700
Cause of Death: Hard impact with the ground following a canopy collision
These two jumpers, both AFF instructors, jumped from a Twin Otter aircraft with different students on the same pass. They both had uneventful exits, freefalls and initial canopy descents. To be near their students, both jumpers approached a specifically designated student landing area, while the other jumpers on the airplane landed in another location. The second instructor to exit the aircraft flew his canopy with the wing straight and level toward the student landing area.
The first jumper struck the second jumper at approximately 400 feet above the ground. The report stated that a video taken from a long distance away on the ground shows the first jumper in what was a diving turn of at least 90 degrees (possibly more) above the second jumper, striking the top of the second jumper’s canopy with his body. Investigators believe that he may have also struck the other jumper’s body as he continued past the canopy during the collision, but they could not be sure.
The two canopies entangled for only a short time but rapidly lost altitude, separating at approximately 100 feet above the ground. Both jumpers then struck the ground hard under collapsed main canopies, which resulted in multiple broken bones, internal injuries and head trauma. They received immediate medical attention, but medical personnel declared both jumpers dead at the scene.