One Skydiver Dead, Another Critically Injured After Tandem Jump Crash

A skydiving instructor has died and his student has suffered life-threatening injuries after the pair crash-landed during a jump in southern Australia.

Police in the state of Victoria said two individuals had been taking part in a tandem jump in Torquay, a seaside town about 65 miles south of Melbourne, when they "crash-landed in a paddock on Fischer Street shortly before 1pm" on Friday.

The police statement confirmed that one person died at the scene while the other, believed to be a man in his 50s, was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

A report will now be prepared for the coroner, and the Australian Parachute Federation will investigate alongside Torquay Police.

Local TV station 9News reported later on Friday that it was the instructor, a man in his mid-30s, who had died—citing Ralph Hamilton-Presgrave, co-owner and chief instructor of Australian Skydive, a company based in Torquay.

Hamilton-Presgrave said the instructor had taken the brunt of the fall after he "put himself in jeopardy to try and minimize the passenger's injuries."

He added that the men's first parachute had failed to open and they had elected to use their second parachute before again running "into difficulties."

Hamilton-Presgrave said the unnamed instructor was "very experienced" and "definitely capable of doing everything he had to do."

He added: "The actual parachute malfunctioned and that's why we always carry two. In this instant, both parachutes haven't opened correctly. I don't know how and I don't know why. It will be investigated fully."

Sergeant Peter Christo from Torquay Police echoed Hamilton-Presgrave's comments in an interview with 9News, saying the "instructor may have cushioned a lot of the blow for the client."

Christo said: "Unfortunately there was a parachuting incident where a parachute failed to open up. Once the parachute didn't open, there were emergency attempts made to open up the chute and, unfortunately, [they] couldn't open the chute.

"As a result of that, we have a deceased male. I believe the instructor may have cushioned a lot of the blow for the client."

Two other skydivers died in Australia just over a month ago, after falling from a plane on June 27.

Police in the city of Goulburn, New South Wales, said in a statement that when officers arrived at the scene they discovered that two male parachutists in their thirties had fallen from an aircraft operated by Adrenalin Skydive Goulburn. The pair were unresponsive and could not be revived.

Scott Marshall, a spokesperson for the company, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the incident had been a "freak" occurrence.

"We lost one of our tandem instructors and a customer today and everyone here, their heart goes out to their family and friends," Marshall said, adding that it had been a "really tough day."

He said the instructor had completed over 2,500 skydives and "safety is paramount here."

Newsweek has contacted Victoria Police, Australian Skydive and the Australian Parachute Federation for comment on the Torquay incident.

Skydiving instructor dies in Australia
File photo of a skydiver in Italy. A skydiving instructor has died and his student has suffered life-threatening injuries after a crash landing in the coastal town of Torquay in southern Australia on July 30. marcocosta/iStock / Getty Images Plus