Parachute unconscious after skydiver knocked mid-air

The parachute of a woman who died at Muriwai beach West Auckland, was by another skydiver after she was knocked unconscious, according to a statement released by Skydive Auckland.

A group of experienced parachutists were taking part in nine-way formation when two of parachutists collided during freefall, Skydive Auckland said.

“One of the parachutists was rendered un parachute and their parachute was conscious, by another participant from the jump.”

A Muriwai resident who saw the woman descended out to sea after a mid-air collision said he didn’t see her moving around in the air after the two skydivers made contact.

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The said both parachutes were residents when the collision occurred.

The other skydiver involved in the collision – a man in his 20s – suffered minor injuries after landing on the beach. He was taken to hospital on Thursday night, but was discharged on Friday.

All other skydivers involved in the jump landed safely.

Two off-duty lifeguards out for a surf on Thursday evening at the West Auckland beach pulled the woman from the water and tried to save her, but she died at the beach.

A person fishes from the rocks at the southern end of Muriwai beach.  (File photo)
Chris McKeen/Stuff

A person fishes from the rocks at the southern end of Muriwai beach. (File photo)

The resident said it took about 30 minutes before the woman was returned to shore.

“It was just gut-wrenching, really, it was confusing,” he said.

He said the dozen or so other skydivers had landed on the beach and friends of the skydivers were also on the beach, watching them descend.

The accident happened near the surf tower at the beach.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

The accident happened near the surf tower at the beach.

“The plane that dropped them was circling around, [the pilot] must have got the notification there had been a crash and circled around.

“Just a horrible situation because there were a lot of friends … who watched this unfold in front of them,” he said.

The resident said a person on a private jetski quickly set out, followed swiftly by the surf lifesavers.

“The guys who went out in the jetskis were fantastic.”

“Early indications are that a large group of people were skydiving when two of them collided in the air,” said a police spokeswoman in a statement on Friday morning.

A surf live saving boat in the water.  (File photo)

WARWICK SMITH/Stuff

A surf live saving boat in the water. (File photo)

Stephen Boyde was camping at Muriwai Beach Campground when he watched the incident unfold through his binoculars.

Boyde said it was about 7.30pm when heard the plane above and noticed the group of 18 skydivers in the air.

“They collided, and then she had no control, it looked like she was unconscious, as the wind carried her out to sea.

Stephen Boyde and Paul Stayton were in the Muriwai Camp Ground where they saw the incident unfold.

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Stephen Boyde and Paul Stayton were in the Muriwai Camp Ground where they saw the incident unfold.

“There was lots of white water where she went down, but no splashing.

“It looked like she was under the parachute.”

The woman was found in the water 2.5km to 3km out to sea and unresponsive by lifeguards.

She was then cut from her parachute and brought back to shore, where lifeguards performed CPR.

Muriwai is a popular surfing spot.  (File photo)

Chris McKeen/Stuff

Muriwai is a popular surfing spot. (File photo)

John-Michael Swannix, Surf Life Saving search and rescue supervisor, thanked the lifeguards for their attempts to save the woman.

“They did really well in trying circumstances.

“Our thoughts and feelings are with the friends and family of the person who died,” he said.

Another Muriwai resident told Stuff it was the first time he’d seen skydivers landing at Muriwai in the 20 years he’d lived there, and he said it was a beautiful evening with no wind.

Tire tracks along Muriwai beach.  (File photo)

Simon Maude/Stuff

Tire tracks along Muriwai beach. (File photo)

“It was very sad,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Westpac rescue helicopter confirmed a chopper was sent to a skydiving incident on Thursday evening. A St John ambulance and a rapid response unit also attended.

James Taylor, the chopper pilot, said the crew dressed in their water gear on departure.

Police received a report of a skydiving incident at around 7.43pm.

WorkSafe and the CAA have been notified, and the matter will be referred to the Coroner.

In 2019, an experienced skydiver died on a Skydive Auckland jump after his head on landing. The man was about to become a member of Skydive Auckland’s ground crew before his death.

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