A skydiving student died in a recent tragic accident in Arizona close to the Phoenix metropolitan area. The accident also unfortunately left an employee who worked as an instructor for a skydiving company seriously injured. Thankfully, the instructor is expected to survive the accident.
The instructor and student were doing what is called a tandem jump, in which the student is connected to the instructor. In a tandem jump, the instructor pulls the parachute and takes primary responsibility for the safety of both skydivers.
Reports suggest that things began to go wrong with this skydive when the main parachute did not deploy as expected. The instructor and student used backup parachutes, which seemed to be working perfectly until the pair got close to the ground. Unfortunately, some low-level turbulence forced them into the ground at a high rate of speed.
Aside from the tragic death of the student, the instructor now must deal with two broken legs. Although the extent of the injury is unknown, it is apparent that the instructor will not be able to do his work for at least several weeks. Depending on the extent of his injuries, he may not be able to work as a skydiving instructor again.
Reports suggest that this simply was a tragic workplace accident. It seems that the instructor's employer had properly trained him and had safety mechanisms in place. The instructor himself had a lot of experience with skydiving. Arizona's workers' compensation system should still serve to cover the instructor's medical bills and lost wages. It is a no-fault system that kicks in even if an employer did nothing to contribute to an accident on the job.
Source: NBC News, "Skydiving student killed in weekend accident in Arizona," M. Alex Johnson, Nov. 23, 2015.