A man died skydiving on Saturday, September 9, 2017. He was found unconscious by responders at the scene. The jump took place in Ottawa, Canada. He was transported to Gatineau hospital which is where he was pronounced dead.
The man was 27 years old. Police have not released his identity yet. He was said to be an experienced wingsuit skydiver. His crash is thought to be due to technical problems. He was taking part in the event Rockstar Boogie—a weekend long annual event being held for the third year. The event was hosted by Parachute GO Skydive.
The man was found in a backyard a couple of miles north of Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport. The accident, according to police, occurred around 10:30 a.m. The unidentified man was from Sudbury, Ontario.
Gatineau police said the accident possibly happened because of a complication with the parachute. An investigation is currently underway.
Parachute-Ottawa Skydive, known as Go Skydive, issued a written statement. According to the statement, the man was “experienced” and was performing a “wingsuit” skydive—wingsuits are also known as squirrel suits and involve excess material to allow a jumper to fly parallel to the ground for long stretches of time.
The statement released by Go Skydive also said, “The parachuting community and the large parachuting family at Go Skydive offers its thoughts to the family and friends of the parachutist.”
Go Skydive also said they will cooperate with authorities in investigating the incident.
Rockstar Boogie brought in skydivers from all over Canada and other countries across the world. Participants in the 3rd annual Rockstar Boogie performed a variety of parachute jumps that are unconventional. Freefall formations were performed in the air.
Daniel Sevigny, a co-owner of Parachute Go Skydive, said that the victim was commemorated on Saturday evening with a moment of silence and a group joined in singing one of the skydiver’s favorite songs. Sevigny said losing a member of the skydiving community feels like losing a family member.
“We’re all a family,” Sevigny said. “It’s a very sad time when we lose one of our own. How do you feel when you lose a family member or loved one? It’s the same thing with us.”
Sevigny said that this is not a time to examine the nature of the safety of skydiving, but a time to let the family grieve. “You have to know how to push your limits and push them safely, so you keep improving. That’s not just about skydiving. That’s about life,” Sevigny said. “This is not the time to be saying how skydiving is safe and things like that. This is a time for the family to grieve.”
Wingsuit skydiving was recognized as a sport by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale at the end of 2014. There have been three reported wingsuit deaths this year, including 28-year-old Graham Dickinson from Canada who died in China.
In the fall of 2106, Canadian wingsuit jumper, Nick Yu, a member of the national skydiving team talked about the safety of the sport of skydiving. “I’m not going to say it’s a non-event because it happens,” Yu said. “I don’t want to say it’s a dangerous sport, but it has risks.”
A few weeks back, on August 27, there was another skydiving accident that resulted in a death in Ottawa. Betiana Namambwe Mubili died performing a solo jump when she experienced equipment malfunction and landed in a field by Petawawa. She was 29 years old at the time of her death.