Two skydivers plummeted to their deaths in California over the weekend after the parachute they were sharing apparently malfunctioned.
One of the men was an 18-year-old whose family was watching when he fell to his death, authorities said.Francine Salazar identified the young man as her son, Tyler Turner, who was with several friends celebrating a birthday, she said in an interview with the Merced Sun-Star.
"Before he got on the plane, he knelt down and prayed, made his peace with God, and then turned around and gave me a great big, huge hug," Salazar told the newspaper. “He said, ‘I love you, mom,’ and then he got on the plane."The identity of the skydiving instructor was not immediately released.
The owner of the Skydive Lodi Parachute Center, Bill Dause, told the Associated Press that the two had been jumping in tandem, and described the instructor as a veteran who had logged about 700 jumps.
San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call about 10 a.m. Saturday from someone reporting that one of his field workers had witnessed a skydiver hit the ground without an open parachute.
After deputies arrived at the Acampo landing site, they located the bodies of the tandem jumpers nearby in a field, according to the sheriff's department. The parachute did not appear to have deployed until after impact.
The FAA has since taken over the investigation into the fatal incident.
Dause, meanwhile, continued business as usual throughout the day, telling KCRA 3 "you keep going."
“I am always liable, but I am not concerned. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Dause said. "It's a love of the sport. You keep going. You feel sorry for the people who can't participate any longer."
Jason Wells is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jason Wells at email@example.com.
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