Florida Skydiver Dies After ‘Parachute Malfunction and Hard Landing’

by Craig Garrett
(Photo via Getty Images / aviation-images.com / Contributor)

A skydiver in Florida has died after their parachute failed to open properly, as confirmed by local authorities. On Monday, the DeLand Police Department announced that the individual died “following a parachute malfunction and hard landing.” According to a DeLand Police Department spokesperson, the accident occurred at Skydive DeLand around 11:45 a.m. on Monday, People reports.

The skydiver’s parachute failed to open while jumping with the company, according to FOX affiliate WOFL. The identity of the individual has not been revealed. Police posted a photo on Twitter showing a plane with rotors surrounded by emergency vehicles and first responders on the tarmac of DeLand Municipal Airport, stating that they were investigating an incident. Skydive DeLand did not respond to requests for comment.

Skydive DeLand offers a variety of training options, including “instruction from the most active professional instructors and coaches in the world” on its website. People who practice tandem jumping with Skydives spend approximately 12 minutes in the air before exiting the plane at an elevation of around 14,000 feet with their instructor.

The free fall lasts about 60 seconds at speeds of up to 120 mph before a parachute is deployed, according to the site. After that, the skydiver may glide for around 5 minutes before making “a feather soft landing.”

The Skydive DeLand facility has been located at the DeLand Municipal Airport since 1982, according to its website. According to the Miami Herald, the airport is about 40 miles north of Orlando. The airport confirmed that it was aware of the incident but declined to provide further information at this time.

Just how dangerous is skydiving?

Skydiving is a popular sport that many people enjoy every year. It is an exciting and adrenaline-filled activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The sheer number of jumps conducted across the world provides data to demonstrate that it may be done safely. The USPA (United States Parachute Association) keeps track of how many people jump. They also keep up with how many have issues along the way.

In 2015, the USPA recorded 3.5 million jumps in the United States, according to The Skydiving Company. This includes novice tandem skydivers and seasoned solo skydivers. There were 21 fatal skydiving accidents out of those 3.5 million jumps (0.006 fatalities per 1,000 leaps). On average, over the past 10 years, tandem skydiving has had 0.002 fatalities per 1,000 jumps. That’s a much better safety rate than many other activities. In fact, you’re more likely to die from being struck by lightning or stung by a bee than you are while tandem skydiving.

Advanced skydiving maneuvers are more likely to result in issues than traditional jumps. Those with the most experience are often the ones who attempt something new and innovative, increasing their chance for an accident.