Woman dies after Tooele Valley skydiving accident on Sunday

By Paul Foy

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, June 19 2013 12:39 p.m. MDT

A skydiver died after trying to avoid an obstacle and taking a hard landing at Tooele Valley Airport, officials said Tuesday.

Don Grayston

Enlarge photo»

SALT LAKE CITY — A skydiver died after trying to avoid an obstacle and taking a hard landing at Tooele Valley Airport, officials said Tuesday.

The 30-year-old woman was found unconscious but breathing Sunday with head, neck and leg injuries, said Tooele County Chief Deputy Sheriff Duke North. She was taken to University of Utah Hospital for surgery but didn't survive, he said.

The woman's identity has not been released. Skydive Utah manager Jack Guthrie said she was an experienced skydiver and her death was not the result of a parachute failure.

A federal official said the woman's parachute was deployed and working properly until she neared the ground, when she made an abrupt turn to avoid hitting an obstacle, possibly some kind of sign.

Because she turned out of the wind, her canopy deflated momentarily, and she was hurled to the ground, the official said. The official was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to release details, and spoke on condition of anonymity.

North confirmed that the woman's parachute was working properly, but he had no details about what happened as she neared the ground. She did not have enough time to deploy a reserve chute.

It was the first skydiving fatality at Tooele County airport since 2002, Guthrie said.

"We lost one of our dear friends," Guthrie said Tuesday. "We are deeply mourning the loss of our friend."

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