A 63-year-old woman has died, and a 51-year-old man is recovering from serious injuries after a skydiving jump in Gananoque went tragically wrong.
The Leeds County detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has concluded its investigation, and determined that there was no criminal wrong-doing involved. The case has now been turned over to the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has been advised.
Leeds OPP have identified the deceased woman as Lynn MacKenzie from Ennismore, Ont.
The incident occurred on Saturday, Jul. 20, 2019, at approximately 4 p.m. The two parties involved were doing a tandem skydive through Skydive Gan, a skydiving facility located in Gananoque. The male, Dean McDonald, an employee at Skydive Gan from Alexandria, Ont., was the instructor in the jump. He sustained serious injuries, and his client, MacKenzie, died on the scene. McDonald is recovering from non-life-threatening injuries, and is expected to return home in the coming days.
During the jump, the primary parachute reportedly malfunctioned and had to be cut away. The reserve parachute then also allegedly suffered a malfunction, becoming tangled and spun up.
A nearby weather station experienced gusts of high winds at around the time of the incident, as recorded on its METAR (Meteorological Terminal Aviation Routine) report at 4p.m. Those recorded gusts of wind neared but did not exceed stated wind speed limits of 11m/s for tandem skydiving. It is not known whether wind was a contributing factor in the incident.
The last reported fatality at Skydive Gan, which operates out of the Gananoque Airport, occurred in 1991, according to a statement from Skydive Gan’s Operations Manager on social media.
At time of press, Skydive Gan responded to requests for further information only to say that they will be releasing a formal statement in the coming days. The incident brought a large array for first responders to the scene, including Leeds County Fire and Rescue, Leeds and Grenville EMS, Frontenac Paramedic Services, and Leeds County OPP.