Skydiving Accident Kills Woman as 222 Jumpers Try for Record

Image: Skydiving Accident Kills Woman as 222 Jumpers Try for Record Skydivers practice for largest double-formation skydive world record attempt, Arizona.

Friday, 04 Apr 2014 08:27 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A skydiving accident claimed the life of an experienced woman jumper this week in Arizona as a group of 222 thrill seekers attempted to break a world record.

Police were called to the scene in Eloy on Thursday morning after 46-year-old Diana Paris' parachute malfunctioned, The Arizona Republic reported. Paris was reportedly part of a group of 222 World Team skydivers attempting to perform a group jump that involved freefalling from 18,000 feet, coming together in a snowflake formation, separating, and forming one other pattern before deploying safety chutes.

World Team media director Gulcin Gilbert told The Republic that Paris' parachute released "too low" and did not open fully. She was declared dead at the scene.

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"[The skydiving accident had] nothing to do with the size of the group or the aircraft," Gilbert said.

Paris, of Berlin, Germany, reportedly had more than 1,500 jumps under her belt.

"Our dear friend cannot and will not be replaced," Gilbert told reporters. "The group will continue to hold the slot open in the skydiver's honor."

The World Team skydiving group did not complete the stunt to break the record on Thursday, but will reportedly continue trying on Friday.

Deaths from skydiving accidents are relatively low compared to the number of annual jumps, experts say, noting that only 24 people died in skydiving accidents in the U.S. last year compared to the estimated 3.2 million jumps.

"Almost all skydiver accidents, whether it's something like this or any kind of accident, almost always it's something because of the jumper," Nancy Koreen of the United States Parachute Association told The Associated Press. "It's like pilot error . . . If you're under a malfunctioning main parachute, you may not be descending quickly enough to trigger the device."

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