Watch CBS News

Veteran Skydiver Killed Due To Malfunction, Skydivers Say Sport Is Relatively Safe

ACAMPO (CBS13) — A veteran skydiver was killed Sunday afternoon when her parachute failed to properly deploy.

It's now the fifth parachuting death in the past three years after launching from the Lodi Parachute Center. It's a thrill seekers hobby, jumping from a plane thousands of feet in the air with only a parachute on their back.

At the Lodi Parachute Center, it happens hundreds of times a day. What's the feeling?

"Freedom, you get to do what you want to do the way you want," said a veteran jumper.

ARCHIVE: FBI Searches The Parachute Center In Acampo

Any malfunction or operator error could be deadly, and that was the case Sunday when the parachute failed to properly deploy.

"Sinking feeling, that 'here we go again why is it something that has been done time and time and time again that everybody knows better than, but it still happens," he said, wishing to remain anonymous.

It's a hurt that has affected this tight-knit community.

While there are risks, jumpers say, statistically speaking, the sport is relatively safe.

"One in a 100,000 is just about the percentage-wise," he pointed out, but wish to remain anonymous. "Nine times out of 10 it was operator error...emergency procedures down to low, turning your parachute to low to the ground or just not paying attention to what you're doing."

In 2017, almost half of the 24 jumpers who died in the U.S. faced malfunctions, The second major cause of deaths was failure to safely land, according to the U.S. Parachute Association.

"If everything is followed correctly and emergency procedures are taught and performed correctly, even in the direst situations, it is safe, but there is always that slight percentage that everything is done right and something still will go wrong," he said.

Since 1999, 16 people have died after taking off from this facility.

"They're very heartbreaking because we lost somebody else again. Even if I don't know who they's still a loss for the family," he said.

It's a risk jumpers say they're willing to take, hoping their training will ultimately save them.

The skydiver was using her own parachuting equipment. Her name has been withheld pending family notification.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.