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Skydiver dies after "parachute malfunction" in Florida

A man was killed while skydiving in central Florida on Monday, in an apparent accident caused by a malfunctioning parachute, authorities say.

The skydiver, whose identity has not yet been released as officials work to notify his relatives, was found dead at DeLand Municipal Airport about 30 minutes west of Daytona Beach,  according to the DeLand Police Department. After receiving 911 calls reporting a skydiving incident, officers responded to the scene around 11:45 a.m., police said, and the man was declared dead when they arrived.

The police department shared an image taken near the airport tarmac on Twitter just before 12:30 p.m. local time on Monday afternoon. In the corresponding tweet, authorities confirmed the man had died while skydiving due to parachute issue and "hard landing."

"DeLand PD is currently on scene at the DeLand Airport," the department wrote in the tweet. "A male skydiver is deceased following a parachute malfunction and hard landing."

An investigation is underway to determine what caused the accident, according to DeLand police. The Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy to establish the skydiver's cause of death.

Fatal skydiving accidents are relatively rare in the U.S. Data collected by the U.S. Parachute Association shows there were 10 deadly accidents in 2021, which the organization said was the lowest annual tally ever recorded and amounted to a rate of 0.28 fatalities per 100,000 jumps. The group said dozens of skydivers died annually throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s before a slow decline in deaths after 2000.

"Better technology, improvements to equipment and advancements in skydiver-training programs have made the sport safer than ever before," the association said.

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