California skydiving rules are being made to change following the death of a skydiver and the Instructor he jumped with last year. The skydiving Instructor was determined to be uncertified prompting the new regulation, called “Tyler’s Law”. The law mandates instructors are certified while facilitating jumps in California and that it’s to the operator’s discretion to make certain they are.
The newly imposed regulation, “Tyler’s Law”, is named for novice skydiver Tyler Turner, 18 who was skydiving for the first time while celebrating a birthday in August last year. Turner, alongside his Instructor, Yong Kwon, 25 both died when their parachutes failed to deploy during a tandem skydive. Tyler had just graduated high school two months before.
The skydive which occurred at a skydiving center near Lodi California had been the center of an investigation regarding whether or not more stringent regulation was required. According to a representative of the USPA, Mr. Kwon had taken a skydiving class but it was conducted by someone who was uncertified themselves.
Ed Scott, Executive director of the USPA said that multiple people including Kwon himself were led to believe that he had been certified. However, further investigation indicated that he took an unaccredited skydiving class.
According to Mr. Scott the facilitator of the unaccredited class, a Robert Pooley, has been stripped of his licensure and certification as a result. The USPA further required that all individuals who had previously been instructed by Mr. Pooley be retrained by certified instructors.
Mr. Scott said, “We found out pretty quickly as we began to investigate the fatal accident, as we investigate all fatal skydiving accidents, that the tandem instructor had not been certified either by us, by the U.S. Parachute Association, to be a tandem instructor or by any manufacturer of tandem skydiving equipment.”
“Tyler’s Law” requires that the skydiving center make certain their Instructors are legitimately certified and provide proper documentation indicating as much. It further stipulates that in the event of a fatal accident, the deceased skydivers family may sue the skydiving center if they failed to comply with the law.
“Tyler’s Law” was signed into law by the governor, Jerry Brown after the FAA failed to sanction the skydive center that employed Mr. Kwon.
Victim Tyler Turner’s mother, Francine Turner, took her concerns to the capitol and the governor saw fit to issue the regulation by signing the bill into law in September of this year.
Mrs. Turner said, “It’s up to them to check and make sure they are putting a qualified person out there, how are we to know otherwise.”
However, she stated the victory is a hollow one in the wake of the loss of her son.
She stated, “It’s really hard to feel joyous when on the other side it is such great sorrow.”
The drop zone located near Lodi has itself been the source of investigations in the past due to a high number of deaths associated with the center. Some of which were the result of skydiver error.