Police: Skydiver dead after parachute fails to open in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (WFLA) – There are many questions and many broken hearts as the skydiving community lost one of its own Monday afternoon.

People who knew and loved a fellow skydiver are now asking what went horribly wrong during a routine jump at Skydive City in Zephyrhills.

General manager T.K. Hayes is numb after losing someone he knew well, a friend who was experienced with many jumps under his belt.

“It’s a really sad day for the community. Everyone’s kind of, big hugs out here. It’s a quiet evening now. Still a lot of people asking why,” Hayes told News Channel 8.

Hayes maintains that the incident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The man’s identity has not yet been released, pending notification of next of kin. Hayes says the man was known to this close-knit community.

“He’s a local sky diver and sort of the second to the last of the day,’ Hayes remarked.  “It appears to be a no-pull, no deployment of either parachute.”

So, now the question remains –why?

Why were the parachutes not deployed during this solo jump?

Did the skydiver have a medical issue? Was he distracted in some way? Or the did parachutes malfunction in some way?  All questions remains unanswered as the investigation continues to unfold.

The Federal Aviation Administration, along with the Pasco County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Zephyrhills Police Department are trying to piece together exactly what took place.

“You kind of hope throughout the investigation that you do find something. You hope that somebody comes up with an ah-ha!  But, I’m not optimistic at this point,” Hayes said.

Skydive City in Zephyrhills conducts 70,000 jumps per year, according to Hayes, and is known throughout the world.

The last time a life was lost at this location was 2013 when two men died.

“Statistically, this is a high-risk sport,” Hayes said.

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook


WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s