Participating in an extreme sport requires you to take a certain degree of risk of death or injury. When you are skydiving with an established extreme sports company, however, you should not have to worry about faulty equipment or unsafe conditions. It should be up to the company taking you up to ensure that everything is working properly before you jump out of the plane. Unfortunately for a 75-year-old grandmother, the company she chose to dive with gave her a defective parachute.
The woman recently went skydiving in Mesquite, Nevada, for her 75th birthday. Her whole family went to watch the former Clark County employee jump from a plan and float serenely back to the ground. Sadly, both her primary and secondary parachutes failed, causing her and her tandem skydiving instructor to come crashing down.
KLAS-TV reported that the primary parachute failed to open, but it is unclear what caused the equipment failure. After one parachute wouldn’t open, the instructor desperately tried to get the reserve parachute open. Tragically, it was tangled and didn’t open properly. While the pair slowed somewhat, it was not enough to land safely.
It is unknown how often the skydiving company checked its equipment or whether it had any reported parachute problems in the past. A man who has spent 30 years training skydiving instructors says that parachute failure is relatively uncommon, but because of the high risk he recommends checking equipment every six months. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently looking into the accident, but it seems as if the skydiving company may be partially responsible for the grandmother’s death.
Source: KLAS-TV, “Birthday Skydiving Trip Turns Fatal,” Sharie Harvin, Oct. 11, 2011