A skydiving incident killed an instructor and a teenage client this week after their primary and emergency parachutes failed, a Georgia sheriff says.
Jeanna Triplicata, 18, and Nick Esposito, 35, were killed Sunday in the incident. They were conducting a “tandem jump” together when the primary parachute failed, the pair went into a spin and the emergency parachute did not fully open, according to a statement obtained by USA TODAY from Upson County, Georgia Sheriff Dan Kilgore.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene, the statement says.
It was Triplicata’s first time skydiving — an uncharacteristically daring adventure for the recent high school graduate, CNN reports.
“She wanted to just see how things look up in the air that high,” Triplicata’s father, Joey Triplicata, told the network. “She had never experienced that. It was a lot of first times for her and it was supposed to be a great, great day and it turned out to be the worst day of our lives.”
Esposito was an experienced skydiver and employee of Skydive Atlanta, police say.
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Trey Holladay, Skydive Atlanta’s owner, issued a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the tragedy:
“Our community is devastated for both our team member and the student and their respective families … We are all stunned and truly at a loss for words as we are a close-knit family. We have spoken with the next of kin and all are asking for privacy while we process and grieve.”
Skydiving fatalities are rare and Tandem skydiving deaths are even more unusual, according to data from the United States Parachute Association. The association reports one student fatality per 500,000 jumps in the past 10 years, a likelihood the comparable to dying by being struck by lightning.
As the number of jumps has increased in recent years, the fatality rate has decreased, the data shows.