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Garnet Valley man ID'd in deadly NJ skydiving accident

South Jersey community mourns after deadly skydiving accident
South Jersey community mourns after deadly skydiving accident 02:34

MONROE, N.J. (CBS) -- The South Jersey skydiving community is in mourning after an experienced skydiver from Garnet Valley died during a jump. It happened Wednesday afternoon in the Stirling Glen community off Fries Mill Road in Monroe Township.

Multiple agencies including the FAA, Monroe Township Police and the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office are investigating what happened during what would be 48-year-old Timothy Slachta's final jump.

The sights and sounds of planes taking off from Skydive Cross Keys filled with skydivers are nothing new to Mike Lang.

"You always hear them laughing, screaming and everything," he said.

But Wednesday afternoon, he heard and saw an unexpected sight.

"Took another look and I saw feet and boots coming out from the blankets," Lang said. "Took another look, I said 'Oh my God, that's a parachuter.'"

A few minutes earlier, the U.S. Parachute Association, Skydiving's governing body says Slachta jumped from a Skydive Cross Keys plane. The USPA says eyewitnesses saw nothing unusual with Slachta's free fall and the main parachute deployed as expected.

However, the USPA says observers then noticed the fully-inflated parachute starting to turn and witnesses say they didn't notice Slachta taking corrective action to stop the turn. He landed right across from Lang's house.

"It was crazy. It was crazy," Lang said. "I never seen so many cops and detectives and they had this whole street roped off and everything."

The USPA says Slachta was a licensed skydiver with about 700 jumps under his belt.

In a statement, Skydive Cross Keys says it's "deeply saddened by the loss of a loved and respected member of our community."

But this isn't the first time they've been mourning a lost colleague.

Since 2012, three skydivers have died jumping from Skydive Cross Keys, with the most recent death being in 2019, according to the FAA's incident reporting system. The agency said its investigations inspect equipment and go over rules of flight, but that they do not determine what causes a skydiver's death.

CBS News Philadelphia requested additional information from Skydive at Cross Keys about their safety record and is awaiting a response.

Wednesday's incident remains under investigation.

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