Two men were tragically killed on Sunday afternoon while doing a tandem skydive at a Cape Cod Airfield in Marstons Mills.
The maneuver, which is generally considered very safe, involves an experienced skydiving instructor strapped behind a novice skydiving student. Together the pair will jump from an aircraft and descend under a large parachute.
On Sunday, around 5 p.m., this routine jump turned horribly wrong when the men performing the maneuver missed their landing spot on the airfield and crashed into a shed in the backyard of a residence across the street. The student, a 29-year-old from Nantucket, and the instructor, 48, of West Lynnwood, Washington, suffered fatal injuries during the fall.
The cause of the accident has been attributed to complications with the parachute. According to reports by the Boston Globe, the student’s friend, who had also jumped, said witnesses told her that the pair’s parachute had in fact opened, but had become tangled. Officials believe the pair eventually lost control before hitting the shed. The woman also reported that while up to altitude, “both instructors were complaining how this was their 16th jump of the day, and both of them were saying they were tired but had two more to go,” according to The Boston Globe.
Investigators are hoping that some footage shot from the sports camera of one of the men will provide some evidence as to exactly what happened. D.A. for the Cape & Islands Michael O’Keefe said he believes that this was just a tragic accident. The FAA is currently in the process of leading the investigation to determine how the jumpers veered off course and crashed.
Skydiving is a relatively safe sport by most standards. According to Ed Scott, executive director of the United States Parachute Association, there are about 3 million skydiving jumps performed each year; 500,000 jumps are tandem jumps. According to the USPA, tandem skydiving holds a safety record of less than 0.003 student fatalities per 1,000 tandem jumps over the past decade. According to the National Safety Council, a person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee.
In regards to this incident, experienced skydiver Chris Milot said there are “several things that could have gone wrong on the tandem jump, including a canopy that collapsed due to high winds, entanglement of the parachute lines, or instructor error. Milot said tandems typically occur under a 400-square-foot canopy, capable of holding 550 pounds, and equipment is inspected before every jump and, by law, chutes are packed by a certified master parachute rigger.” The two men are sadly, the 22d and 23d persons to die this year in skydiving accidents, but there has only been one other fatal tandem jump this year, according to the parachute association.
While skydiving is considered to be a safe sport, there are inherent risks. Normally when participating in high-risk activities, like skydiving, participants must sign a waiver acknowledging the risk for potential death or injury. While often, these companies are protected under the signed contract, there may be instances where it is possible for the victim and/or his family to collect compensation for their injuries and any associated costs, including medical bills. It is most advised for those who have been involved in this type of accident to contact an experienced legal professional to discuss his/her options.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman, our team of seasoned personal injury attorneys has more than 50 years of experience handling all types of personal injury cases. We have both the knowledge and resources to assist you in all aspects of your case, including helping you access some of the best medical care in the Commonwealth, and helping you achieve the settlement you deserve. Call our office today to set up an initial case evaluation. All initial consultations are completely free of charge and of no obligation.
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