AUSTIN (KXAN) – An experienced skydiver died in Central Texas after a possible parachute malfunction on Friday.
A spokesperson for Skydive Spaceland, a skydiving center in Caldwell County, said a 31-year-old licensed, experienced skydiver died while skydiving over Fentress, Texas, which is about 20 minutes outside of San Marcos.
The company said the person was wearing its own gear when it appears the primary parachute malfunctioned.
They said the person, who has not been identified, did not survive the landing despite the use of the backup parachute.
Skydiving accident investigations
The Federal Aviation Administration said it is aware of the situation and is investigating it.
Specifically, the government agency said it is investigating the packing of the main and reserve parachutes and the rules of flight for the pilot and aircraft.
Scott Maschek has been skydiving for nine years now. He owns Skydive Skylark out of Killeen, Texas.
“In the skydiving world, we are governed by the US Parachute Association, as well as the FAA that governs our safety, the rules and everything that we do,” Maschek said.
He said skydiving accidents will prompt these types of investigations that can ultimately lead to safety improvements.
“If needed, the USPA, sends down an investigator to come through and sees what happened,” Mascheck said. “Tries to figure out how it happened, and how we can mitigate that from ever happening again.”
Safety gear inspections
When it comes to a skydiver’s gear, Mascheck said it’s checked at least twice a year by the FAA.
“Every 180 days, at a minimum, the gear is completely taken apart,” he said. “The reserve is inspected and repacked and then all the equipment is inspected along with it.”
Skydive Spaceland said the equipment used in this incident was appropriately sized, in good condition and maintained properly by FAA standards.
Still, the government agency is investigating the packing of the two parachutes.
Along with investigations and gear checks, Mascheck said there are also random inspections of skydiving centers. He said without notice, the FAA will inspect a center’s equipment and planes to determine if they are safe.