Parachute opened but skydiver suffered fatal injuries while landing, company says

The sudden death of a skydiver has sent New Zealands skydiving community into shock.
Police reported the man died on his way to hospital, after skydiving near Kittyhawk Way, Mount Maunganui on Saturday morning.

The Civil Aviation Authority is sending two investigators to Tauranga on Monday to determine what happened.

WorkSafe is also investigating, and the police and coroner are making inquiries.

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Cameron Avery/SUNLIVE
Emergency services at the scene of a fatal skydiving accident at Tauranga Airport on Saturday morning.

Its believed the skydiver worked for Tauranga Skydive but had been skydiving alone on Saturday.

In a statement, Tauranga Skydive chief executive Donnie Banez said the company was saddened by the accident.

The man was an experienced, single sports skydiver who was completing a solo jump, Banez said.

After a normal free fall and safe parachute opening, the sports skydiver suffered injuries upon landing.

All information has been passed on to the appropriate authorities, Banez said.

He is a valued anggota of our skydiving family, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

We have organised on-going support for our team, and a private karakia was held to honour his memory.

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A person died in a skydiving accident at Tauranga Airport.

Skydive Auckland Operations Manager Fiona McLaren said she did not know the man who died but agreed it would be a shock to everyone involved in the industry.

It doesnt matter whether its a fatal or a serious injury, no one wants to see anything like this happen.

Obviously the skydiving industry is going to feel sadness over the loss of one of our own.

We are a very close community but the effect of something like this will extend further than just skydivers.

McLaren said the skydiving industry was heavily regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and the New Zealand Parachute Industry Association.

She was very pro safety during her career in skydiving since 2004. She had worked at Skydive Auckland since 2012.

There are strong safety measures in place but despite everyones best efforts, from time to time there can be incidents.

I know that Skydive Tauranga is a very well run business and they take safety very seriously, they are a great bunch of people, McLaren said.

NZ Parachute Federation facilitates sports skydiving competitions but its vice-chairwoman Lisa Chambers said she could not comment on the Tauranga incident because she did not know the details.

She referred to the New Zealand Parachute Industry Association [NZPIA] which promoted safe skydiving through education, training, certification, and other qualification programmes.

NZPIAs chairman Stuart Bean had been contacted for comment.


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