Accidents In Conn., Fla. Kill Parachutists
Undated (AP) _ A Connecticut skydiving instructor and his student fell 6,000 feet to their deaths when their parachutes did not open, and two men died in Florida after they collided while attempting a jump with three other people.
Connecticut state police said the unopened main and backup parachutes worn by instructor William H. Womble III as he jumped with a female student would be turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration today.
The student was identified as Mary Scott, 29, of Portsmouth, England.
Trooper James Tilley said Womble, 41, of Manchester, Conn., was attached with a harness to the student ″piggyback-style″ as the two jumped from a plane flying at an altitude of about 6,000 feet over Ellington, Conn., on Sunday.
He said both the main and backup parachutes were attached to Womble and the woman wasn’t wearing any, as is common in a first jump.
″For some reason, the instructor didn’t open them. We don’t know if there was a problem with the mechanism or whatever,″ the trooper said.
On Saturday, a skydiver whose parachute did not open during a group jump collided with a fellow parachutist near Clewiston, Fla., and both died, authorities said.
The two were among a group of five who jumped from a plane 8,500 feet in the air and tried unsuccessfully to join hands before opening their parachutes, said sheriff’s Lt. Hugh Smith, who saw the accident while flying his private plane.
As the skydivers approached the 3,500-feet mark they had set for minimum altitude, all but Robert A. Given, 38, of Lake Worth, opened their chutes, Smith said. Given collided with Robert F. Triano, 46, of Miami, he said.