11 Sep 2019

FAA Investigating Skydiving Accident In Grand Canyon

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking into a skydiving accident that happened near the Grand Canyon on Sunday, ending in the injury of one skydiver and the death of a tourist visiting from the United Kingdom.

AZ Central reports that Christopher Swales, 55, from the UK had purchased a skydiving package from Paragon Skydive, located at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. A spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department said that the tandem skydiving expedition took off from the airport and was going as planned until the skydivers approached the landing site.

Authorities say that the pair began to experience difficulties and caused them to go into freefall. The pair hit the ground in what is being described as a “hard landing.”

Emergency crews arrived on the scene to find Swales unconscious. He was rushed to Flagstaff Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. The second member of the skydiving team, an employee of Paragon Skydive, suffered a broken leg in the incident.

According to FAA spokesperson, Ian Gregor, as is typical for skydiving accidents, the federal agency will be looking into whether the parachute was properly packed by those authorized to do so and whether the instructor had the proper experience and credentials at the time of the accident.

The investigation into the cause of the fatal parachute accident is expected to be completed over the next few weeks.

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