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Vol. 13 - October 2000 - English Edition The Magazine from Skydive World


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[Updated: October 5, 2000]                              More safety issues on pages   [1]   [2]   [3]

Skydiver's Body Found after Night Jump

On September 15, authorities in Sussex County, New Jersey, recovered the body of a 24-year-old skydiver from Italy who disappeared the night before after jumping out of a small plane 5,000 feet over northwestern New Jersey. Gianni Lattarico was found at 12:45 p.m. off Compton Road in Wantage. Hours earlier, searchers had located his parachute and harness hanging in a tall evergreen tree about a quarter-mile away. How the body and a parachute with the harness got separated is a mystery.
On Thursday evening Lattarico took off in a small plane from Sussex Airport in Wantage with three other skydivers for a night jump. At 9:15 p.m.. The three others leapt from the plane, followed by Lattarico. After he failed to land in the drop zone, the other skydivers called for help.
Lattarico's main chute never deployed, as police stated, but the reserve chute had opened. It's not clear if the skydiver or the AAD (automatic deployment) opened the reserve. Authorities were trying to determine if a sharp jolt from the automatic deployment could have ripped Lattarico out of his harness. Officials who examined Lattarico's equipment in the tree said it appeared the harness was buckled, which is strange, to say the least. The invetigators are going under the assumption there was some major malfunction with the chute.
Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration will examine the parachute to determine whether it was packed properly. According to the owner of Skydive Sussex, a parachuting operation based at Sussex Airport, a preliminary inspection of the chute determined it was in perfect operating condition. It was the first fatality at Skydive Sussex since it opened in Wantage in 1994.

  * * *
Fatality in Elsinore

Sixty-eight-year-old Judy Bieloh of Long Beach, CA, died Sunday, September 17, when her parachute apparently failed to open. Reportedly, witnesses observed her having difficulty during her jump and spiralling to the ground. She landed on a nearby motocross track and died immediately upon impact.
Judy Bieloh was a member of the Skydivers Over Sixty [SOS], a group of parachutists who set a California record in 1997 for the most divers age 60 and over to participate in a free-fall formation. Bieloh and her husband, Donald, were among ten other SOS sky divers who set the record of 22 60-and-over sky divers on March 22 of that year. They had planned to go out with SOS and try to break the record again on the following Saturday.

  * * *
Two Paratroopers died in Arizona

U. S. Army parachute instructor Christopher Sheaffer and Naval freefall student Shawn Mustard died September 12 during a nighttime training jump at the U. S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona. They were part of a group of 13 on a training exercise. The military wouldn't release any further information, pending the conclusion of its investigation.

More safety issues on pages   [1]   [2]   [3]


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