Skydiver dies in California after parachute fails to open

Skydiver dies in California after parachute fails to open

News Staff

A skydiver in Lodi, California, died after her parachute failed to deploy properly during a jump on Sunday.

Bill Dause, owner of Skydive Lodi-the Parachute Center in Acampo, told NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento that the woman, Nina Mason, had successfully completed more than 2,500 jumps over the years. Mason had even completed three jumps on Sunday before the accident, he said.

“What we’ve decided was she had a malfunction of her main parachute, waited a long time before she got rid of that — we call it a cutaway — and activated her reserve parachute,” Dause said Monday.

“But after she cut away, she rolled over to get stable and then activated her reserve parachute, and by this time, it was too low to open,” he said.

Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, said in an email that woman was using her own equipment during the jump. He said while the FAA will investigate, it typically is limited to investigating whether a parachute was properly packed by the appropriate person.

Mason’s death is the 16th since the late 1990s at the parachute center, which opened in 1964, according to KCRA. The FBI searched the center earlier this year, but it’s unclear what was being investigated.

In December, the U.S. Parachute Association, which regulates the sport in the United States, found that an unspecified number of tandem skydiving instructor students taught by two instructors who worked at the Acampo drop zone hadn’t been properly taught or certified.

It suspended the ratings of 12 candidates and ordered about 120 others to undergo certified refresher courses, according to the organization’s records.