Although to most people skydiving seems like an especially dangerous sport, it is not what it seems. With the proper instruction and equipment, skydiving is actually quite safe.
But as with any sport, mistakes can and do happen. Sadly, this was seen in the case of Ben Dupont, who died while skydiving over Gatineau, Canada. There were other skydivers with Dupont at the time, and they were able to give his family some answers and much-needed closure.
Skydivers use something that’s known as the Automatic Activation Device – this piece of equipment automatically deploys the parachute in case the skydiver somehow loses consciousness. Dupont lost consciousness after a midair collision during the jump and was then seen by the other skydivers as plummeting to the ground. Unfortunately, Dupont had sent in this piece of equipment for repairs and did not receive it in time for this jump over Gatineau. Other skydivers who were there claim that if Dupont had that piece of equipment in place that day, he wouldn’t have died.
Dupont was known for being a seasoned wingsuit pilot and skydiver, which is part of the reason why this accident was such a surprise to all involved.
He was in Gatineau at the time for the Rockstar Boogie, an event that took place over the course of a weekend and was meant to give skydivers an opportunity to make some unconventional jumps and meet up with other skydivers who shared their passion. This was at least the second year in a row that Dupont had attended the event, so it’s clear that he already knew some of the risk and complexity involved.
Dupont’s family reported being shaken by the event, needing time to process what had happened. All of this was further complicated by the fact that Dupont had been wearing a new wingsuit at the time. These wingsuits allow skydivers to reach speeds of up to 300 km/h and fly for as long as seven km before even having to deploy their parachute. Wingsuiting is an official sport, however, three wingsuit-related deaths have occurred just this year.
Dupont was experienced in both skydiving and wingsuit piloting and had been training for years, traveling to many places in both Canada and the United States while doing so.
In order to remember and celebrate Dupont after his death, many fellow skydivers joined for a minute of silence. They came together for a group hug and sang one of Dupont’s favorite songs together. One skydiver said that they all felt like family and that losing Dupont felt the same as if they had lost someone in their actual family.
Instead of using this as an opportunity to pontificate about the safety and dangers of skydiving, this skydiver added that this was the time to mourn. One thing is for sure, though: Dupont will not soon be forgotten by his fellow skydivers.