What was supposed to be an exhilarating skydiving expedition has left two people with life-threatening injuries following an accident.
According to WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, a 28-year-old woman from Racine County, Wisconsin, and a 49-year-old woman from Chicago were tandem skydiving on Sunday in Yorkville, Wisconsin.
While their parachute did deploy, the women lost control when they were 20 to 30 feet above the ground, the station reported. This led to a crash landing that caused serious injuries for both women.
The incident was captured by a doorbell camera. WDJT reporter Jenna Wells shared the footage on Twitter.
BREAKING: Two people have life-threatening injuries after a tandem skydiving accident at Skydive Midwest near Sylvania airport. A neighbor gave @CBS58 doorbell cam video of the crash. Tune into @WMLWTheM at 5:30 for the latest. pic.twitter.com/V48DanDfBC
— Jenna Wells (@JennaWellsNEWS) June 19, 2022
The crash occurred near Skydive Midwest, which was the center that oversaw the trip. Two witnesses who said they had watched skydivers in the area before said the accident was unlike anything they had seen before.
“When they came down, it was straight from the sky. Very scary,” witness Deb Webster told WDJT.
Dawn Osinski, the other witness who spoke to the station, recalled the incident in chilling detail.
“The wind took them, it took the parachute and turned it over, and their bodies just came down,” Osinski said. “When they hit the ground, it was a thud.”
The witnesses also spoke to WISN-TV in Milwaukee:
Flight for Life emergency transport system immediately flew the women to trauma centers in the area, where they were admitted with life-threatening injuries on Sunday, WDJT reported.
In an update on Monday, The Journal Times in Racine reported that an investigation into the accident was ongoing. Megan George, who co-owns Skydive Midwest, did not provide an explanation for the crash.
“We cannot speculate anything at this time since the investigation is still ongoing,” George told the newspaper. “We cannot say anything further.”
She also confirmed one of the women injured in the accident was a skydiving instructor.
On its website, Skydive Midwest states that each tandem diver will be accompanied by a “professionally-licensed and experienced instructor.”
Sadly, Skydive Midwest is no stranger to serious accidents. In 2014, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that an instructor died after becoming entangled with another instructor.
In that accident, 44-year-old former Navy SEAL Fred Platt got tangled with 27-year-old Neil Kuhlman in a “canopy collision.” In these situations, divers are trained to cut themselves free and deploy a backup parachute, United States Parachute Association executive director Ed Scott told the Journal Sentinel at the time.
However, Scott said if a canopy collision occurs less than 1,800 feet from the ground, this method is not recommended. The reason for this is that cutting free essentially sends divers back into free fall, and they will not have enough time for the parachute to slow them down.
The Journal Sentinel reported that this particular collision was believed to have occurred between 800 and 1,200 feet, and Platt seemed to have cut his main parachute loose. He died on impact.
Kuhlman did not cut his chute, and survived with minor injuries after landing in a tree about 100 feet away from Platt.
Each of these incidents is tragic, and they both show the fragility of life on Earth. As sad as that is, Christians can take solace in our belief that we will spend eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven.
Accidents like these remind us that Earth is not our permanent home. We were created to reside with God, and even in the sadness of death here on Earth, He uses these moments for His glory by promising us eternal life.
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