A group of 200 experienced skydivers participated in a group jump in Arizona on Tuesday in what was supposed to be a week of fun for the enthusiasts. Unfortunately, two of the men collided just a few hundred feet above the ground, and they were both killed when their chutes collapsed and they plummeted to the ground.
According to witnesses, Keiron O’Rouke, 40, and Bernd Schmehl, 51, ran into each other with their parachutes open about 200 to 300 feet from the ground. The impact caused the canopies to collapse.
Schmehl was pronounced dead at the scene, and O’Rouke died at a nearby medical center.
The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation to discover what went wrong, since inexperience is hardly a factor in this case. O’Rouke had logged 849 career jumps, and Schmehl had over twice that with 1,707.
How sad and how scary! Skydiving is definitely an extreme sport, but I bet after so many jumps, you start to feel a little invincible. Especially since they’d already passed the “moment of truth” when their chutes opened. What could have happened for them to lose control and collide like that?
Whatever happened, I hope they get some answers so that other skydivers can take extra precautions and stay safe.
Have you been skydiving? Will you after reading this story?
Image via Ben Gertzfield/Flickr