This story hit home with us here at the Tony Batman’s A Entertainment News because we jumped at Skydive City in Zephyrhills Florida years back. Our owner Tony Batman was a talk show host at WBDN AM-760 back in the day on his radio show called “You Know What?” and the entire WBDN crew did a promotion at Skydive City where, most of them, did a tandem jump at the same time. We were just talking about this last week with our team at our new station, the Planet Platypus Network. Read the story below all the way to the end, this is the first time in all their years that this has happened at Skydive City…. Read Below
Skydive City manager David T.K. Hayes spent part of his morning on the phone with media from Iceland, trying to explain Saturday’s accident.
“Iceland’s a small community and skydiving in Iceland is a very, very small community, maybe 100 people,” Hayes said.
A group of Icelandic instructors and students are visiting Florida on a sort of training and vacation expedition, Hayes said. More students are expected to arrive from Iceland this week, though Hayes said he wouldn’t be surprised if a few canceled.
“If in your first training week one of your co-students gets killed, that rattles you,” Hayes said. “They’re certainly not jumping today, but that’s because of the weather. Will they jump tomorrow? Some won’t, but some will. It’s a personal decision. If you’ve been in the sport long enough, you know someone who’s died.”
The bodies of student Andrimar Pordarson, 25, and instructor Orvar Arnarson, 40, were found around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Hayes and Pasco County investigators were at the scene until about 2 a.m., looking for evidence and evaluating the crash site, he said.
The bodies were found close to each other south of the airport off of Yonkers Road.
The details of the accident are still unclear, Hayes said. But from what he saw at the scene, neither skydiver deployed his main parachute. The men’s automatic reserve chutes, which should open around 700 feet, where out but had never inflated, he said.
There were 19 people on the plane that the two Icelanders jumped from, including two other people from their group, Hayes said. Everyone else completed the jumps without injury.
While conditions later in the day stopped others from jumping, Hayes said the morning conditions were fine.
“Yesterday, it was breezy but it wasn’t windy,” he said. “The wind had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was a failure to deploy a parachute in time accident.”
The instructor was wearing a video camera, which Hayes said could provide valuable insight about what caused the accident and determining whether it was an operational, training or equipment issue.
From the information investigators do have, Hayes said a couple factors were likely at play — including dealing with a possible distraction during the free fall and then losing track of the altitude.
“There’s never a single cause of an accident,” Hayes said. “All we know is the reserves didn’t have time to inflate. But why, we don’t know.”
Neither jumper was using gear from Skydive City, but Hayes said his team checks out the gear of every jumper and makes sure it is in compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. For example, reserve chutes have to be repacked every 180 days. The Icelander’s gear met all safety requirements, Hayes said.
Skydiving is not an industry that carries any liability insurance, Hayes said. Jumpers sign waivers including an assumption of risk.
“The entire skydiving community is interested because a student died,” Hayes said. “Students are never supposed to die.”
This is the first time a student has died on a jump at Skydive City, Hayes said.
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