Trio die from sky­dive fall

NT News - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTERS

THREE sky­divers have died in a tragic ac­ci­dent at Queens­land’s pop­u­lar Mis­sion Beach.

Po­lice de­clared a crime scene at the area shortly af­ter the hor­ror un­folded

It is un­der­stood the in­ci­dent in­volves two men and a woman and at least one of the group was an in­struc­tor.

One of the vic­tims was re­port­edly found by a res­i­dent in their back­yard where he was later pro­nounced dead by paramedics.

The two oth­ers were found en­tan­gled in a nearby tree.

The man and woman were also both pro­nounced dead.

The trio were all aged in their 30s and 40s.

An eye­wit­ness who watched the sky­dive tragedy un­fold said he could do noth­ing but watch as a sky­diver dropped to­wards the earth.

“I watched it un­fold,” the man, who did not wish to be named, said.

“You could see one chute was tan­gled and it wasn’t open­ing. “I was just watch­ing him in free fall un­til he went be­hind the trees, and that was the last I saw.”

The wit­ness said it ap­peared the sky­diver did not ac­ti­vate a backup para­chute af­ter the first one failed.

“I don’t un­der­stand how three peo­ple could have died, un­less some­one was try­ing to catch them,” he said.

“I could un­der­stand two, maybe, but not three.

“Un­less maybe it was two chutes tan­gled to­gether that I saw.

“I didn’t see any­one near them, but they were at a fairly high al­ti­tude so maybe a col­li­sion hap­pened fur­ther up.”

He said the mood in town was som­bre as res­i­dents came to terms with what had hap- pened. “It wasn’t good to watch. I had my heart in my mouth,” he said. A po­lice spokes­woman con­firmed they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing if a solo sky­diver had col­lided with tan­dem sky­divers in midair with their para­chutes fail­ing to de­ploy cor­rectly.

The area is be­lieved to be a sparsely pop­u­lated area near the Clump Point jetty turn-off and is un­der­stood to be some dis­tance from the nor­mal land­ing zone for sky­divers.

Cas­sowary Coast Re­gional Coun­cil Di­vi­sion 3 Coun­cil­lor Wayne Kim­ber­ley has de­scribed the in­ci­dent as a “ter­ri­ble tragedy”.

Sky­dive Aus­tralia is­sued a state­ment af­ter the in­ci­dent.

“Three peo­ple have died af­ter sus­tain­ing in­juries from a sky­div­ing ac­ci­dent in Far North Queens­land,” the com­pany said.

“The in­ci­dent hap­pened at Mis­sion Beach, south of Cairns, this af­ter­noon.

“One of the de­ceased, a highly ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tor who had com­pleted thou­sands of jumps, was com­plet­ing a solo jump. “

A po­lice tent at the scene

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