Air Force Servicewoman Who Died During Skydiving Training Named as Sgt. Rachel Fisk

The Royal Air Force (RAF) servicewoman who was killed during a parachuting accident at a military base in the U.K. has been named as Sgt. Rachel Fisk.

Sgt. Fisk died during a free-fall parachute jump at RAF Weston-on-the-Green, in Oxfordshire, earlier this month.

It is unclear if Sgt Fisk died due to a malfunction, and the Ministry of Defence did not provide any information about the cause of her death.

The British Parachuting Association is carrying out an investigation into the death, a spokesperson told Newsweek earlier this month.

Tributes have been paid to Sgt. Fisk, who first joined the RAF in 2011 and had delivered parachute training for Armed Forces personnel for several years.

In a statement sent to Newsweek, Sgt. Fisk's family said: "It is with great sadness that we mourn the death of our dear daughter Rachel. She lived her life with joy and thoughtfulness for others and loved the career she had chosen. Rachel will be missed by so many."

Flight Sergeant Dylan Bartle added: "Rachel brought personality to the team and was one of the most selfless individuals you could meet, constantly volunteering for tasks to allow her colleagues to spend more time with their families.

"Able to transfer her bubbly personality to her students, she consistently gave them the assurance and confidence required to complete that nervous task of jumping out of an aircraft."

Group Captain Mark Smith, Commandant Robson Academy of Resilience, said:
"I have known Rachel personally since she joined the Parachute Jump Instructor Cadre. She rapidly became an outstanding Instructor and highly valued member of our team.

Our thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends at this distressing time."

Further tributes to Sgt. Fisk added she was "known for her infectious smile, her ability to make a cracking cup of tea, and her love of shoes."

Born in Nuneaton in 1989 to a military family, Sgt. Fisk joined the RAF in 2011 as a physical training instructor and initially served at RAF Wittering and RAF Cranwell.

In 2016, she was selected for instructional duties at the top parachute training school in the U.K., RAF Brize Norton, where she learned how to instruct and deliver parachute training for the Armed Forces.

Earlier this month, an RAF spokesperson told Newsweek: "We can confirm that a service person has died at RAF Weston-on-the-Green. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues at this time.

"The incident is being investigated and it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage."

RAF Weston-on-the-Green is used as a drop zone for freefall parachute training for members of the U.K. military.

Pilots also make use of the site in order to practice low flying, which is essential for personnel on demanding operations.

It is one of the few remaining bases in the U.K. that still has original buildings that existed before the formation of the RAF.

Fatalities and accidents at parachute jump sites are extremely rare in the U.K., with the British Skydiving Association said the "all-time tandem fatality rate since 1990 is about 0.12 per 100,000 jumps (one in 800,000)."

It added for novices the fatality rate "may be about three-four per 100,000 jumps (one in 28,000).

When incidents involving cases of near-death and injury do occur in the U.K., they are widely covered by media outlets.

In April 2015, an investigation was launched after Victoria Cilliers survived a near-fatal 4,000-foot jump from an airplane above Wiltshire.

The British Parachuting Association investigated the incident and found the experienced parachutist's equipment had been sabotaged.

A later police investigation pointed to her husband Emile Cilliers as being the suspect behind the sabotage.

In 2018, a jury found British Army Sergeant Cilliers guilty of the attempted murder of his wife by tampering with her parachute.

He was later sentenced to serve at least 18 years behind bars.

Sgt. Rachel Fisk died earlier this month
Sgt. Rachel Fisk died earlier this month. Royal Air Force