Authorities in northern California are investigating a deadly skydiving mishap related to faulty parachutes. Last Saturday, two skydivers died during a tandem jump gone wrong when their parachute failed to properly eject.
Officers received a 911 call from a bystander reporting a skydiver had hit the ground without an open parachute and subsequently found the bodies near the local Lodi Parachute Center in Acampo. The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department reported the bodies as that of Tyler Turner, an 18-year-old jumping for the first time and instructor Yong Kown a skydiving veteran who had completed around 700 previous jumps.
According to Bill Dause, owner of the Parachute Center, the wind and other conditions were “perfect” at the time of the fatal jump. He told local reporters that something caused an issue with the parachute’s release sequence, leading it to be unable to deploy properly.
However, the on-going investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration has discovered that instructor Kwon lacked the necessary master parachute license required for tandem jumps. He had not been certified with either the United States Parachute Association or the manufacturer of the equipment. This is in direct violation of FAA regulations and raises major red flags. Turner’s mother has already stated she plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit in hopes of shutting the center down.
This was the second fatal jump at the California Parachute Center this year. A solo skydiver was killed during a parachute malfunction in early February. The skydive center also made national headlines in May when one of their fixed-wing aircraft carrying 17 skydivers clipped a truck shortly after take-off and then landed upside-down in a vineyard. The only injuries reported in that case were minor scrapes and cuts.
The parents of a Navy SEAL officer, who was killed during a 2014 parachute training exercise, recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the parachute’s manufacturer. Chief Petty Officer Bradley Cavner, 31, was standing in an aircraft doorway during a routine exercise when a gust of wind prematurely deployed his reserve chute. This knocked him off balance, causing him to fatally smashed his head against the plane’s door edge.
Both cases are still under investigations by the Federal Aviation Administration and it has yet to be determined if Turner’s family will also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the parachute’s manufacturer for its suspected improper deployment.