Instructor in deadly California skydiving jump was not certified

Deadly Calif. skydiving jump
Deadly Calif. skydiving jump 03:28

"CBS This Morning" has learned a skydiving instructor involved in a deadly California accident last weekend was not certified by the United States Parachute Association.

The instructor -- 25-year-old Yong Kwon -- and 18-year-old Tyler Turner were killed during a tandem jump near Lodi, south of Sacramento. The FAA is investigating the case, which raises new questions about how skydiving is regulated, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.

For Tyler Turner, last Saturday was supposed to be a fun outing with friends, just weeks before the honors student was set to head off to college. His mother Francine Turner snapped a photo of him kneeling on the tarmac at the parachute center near Lodi.

"He was just the best kid. He had the neatest personality," said his mother. "He gave me a hug and said, 'I love you mom,' and I said, 'I love you son' and he got on the plane."

Those were his last words. At first, Francine thought her son had backed out of the jump, until she spotted emergency vehicles in an open field.

"The officer had come up and he said, 'the two people on the ground are deceased.' And I lost it," Turner said. "I just remember screaming and screaming, 'It can't be true.'"

It's believed Tyler and his instructor died after their shared parachute didn't open. According to the United States Parachute Association, more than 3 million people skydive in the U.S. every year. In 2015, 21 were killed -- one during a tandem jump.

"Skydiving will never be a perfectly safe thing to do," said Ed Scott, executive director of the USPA, a nonprofit organization which works with state and federal officials to promote skydiving safety.

"If you don't find a location listed on our site, you don't know what you're getting, you don't know what the standards are," Scott said. "The important factor with tandem skydiving is the certification and instructor."

The Parachute Center is not a member of the association and "CBS This Morning" was unable to locate any of the required certifications for the instructor.

"When you hear there may be a possibility he may not have been certified, what goes through your mind?" Villarreal asked.

"Anger, a lot of anger," Turner said.

Turner claims that earlier in the day, the facility sped through preflight procedures.

"It was like a McDonald's. You know, get your order and get out and watch half a video," Turner said.

The owner of the Parachute Center, Bill Dause, declined CBS News' repeated requests for comment, but spoke on the day of the crash.

"It's an unfortunate situation but if you see a car wreck, they don't close the freeway. It's something... unfortunately, in this sport and skiing and scuba diving, there are fatalities," Dause said.

Federal officials are now looking at everything from the parachute to the instructor's qualifications.