Skydiving Accident Claims Life in Arizona

A German woman was killed during a skydiving accident while jumping at Skydive Arizona. The skydiving center identified parachute malfunction as the cause of the accident. The parachute was reportedly released too low to the ground, which prevented the reserve parachute from fully opening. The woman was declared dead at the scene of the accident.

The woman was part of a skydiving group that was attempting to break a world record for skydiving in a formation. A spokesperson remarked that the accident had nothing to do with the number of divers nor with the aircraft. The group consisted of 222 people from 28 different countries. They had planned to free-fall from approximately 18,000 feet, join together in a snowflake-like formation, separate, then join together again in another formation before deploying their parachutes. In total, the skydivers would have had approximately 70 seconds to complete their formations prior to opening their parachutes.

The group failed to break the record during the jump in which the woman died. Despite making attempts after the skydiver’s death, the group still did not reach their goal. They planned to attempt to break the record again a few days later with 221 skydivers.

Law enforcement found the skydiver’s body approximately one mile from the drop zone. Her body was collected and transported to the Federal Aviation Administration for inspection.

Since opening in the 1980s, Skydive Arizona has become one of the leading skydiving spots in the country. Arizona’s sunny climate, clear skies, and desert terrain make the location ideal for making jumps. Other skydiving deaths have taken place on the site in recent months. In November 2013, two divers from Germany and the United Kingdom died while attempting to set a different record. The accident occurred when the divers’ parachutes collapsed.

Although skydiving is inherently dangerous, the number of reported deaths each year is low compared to the number of jumps. Attempting formation jumps with large groups of people increases the risk of death or injury due to a greater likelihood of having a collision. A spokesperson from the United States Parachute Association stated that most skydiving deaths are caused by situations that involve diver error.