29 June 2021

UPDATE: Fatal skydiving accident at Goulburn caused by parachute failure

| Hannah Sparks
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Adrenalin Skydive car and plane

Two parachutists have died in what’s been described as a “freak accident” at Goulburn Airport. Photo: Adrenalin Skydive Goulburn.

UPDATE 28 June, 4:45 pm: Goulburn Police Station officer in charge, Inspector Matthew Hinton, has confirmed the skydiving instructor, 37, and passenger, 32, who died in an accident at Goulburn Airport over the weekend were from Sydney and Canberra, respectively.

Inspector Hinton said the men had been unable to deploy their parachutes before they landed near the airport runway.

He said police believe this was due to their equipment becoming “snagged” on the outside of the plane before they jumped.

By the time their equipment was dislodged from the aircraft, the pair was at an insufficient height to open their parachutes.*

Police have not released the names of the deceased.

28 June, 12:40 pm: The skydiving instructor, from Sydney, who died in an accident at Goulburn Airport over the weekend has been described as “well-known” and “loved” by his employer.

Adrenaline Skydiving spokesperson Scott Marshall didn’t wish to name the instructor but said he would be “sorely missed” by the company and skydiving community.

“He had a young family, who our hearts go out to,” said Mr Marshall.

A Canberran man who was in tandem with the instructor also died at Goulburn on Sunday (27 June).

NSW Police said emergency services were contacted about an aircraft carrying two skydivers that was in difficulty at around 12:50 pm.

The two parachutists fell from the aircraft and landed near the airport runway.

They were located unresponsive and unable to be revived.

Goulburn Police Station Officer in Charge, Inspector Matt Hinton, said the pair had been unable to deploy their parachutes.

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Mr Marshall described it as a “freak accident” but acknowledged the company was awaiting more information about what happened.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Australian Parachute Federation and officers from the Hume Police District are carrying out investigations.

A report will be prepared for the coroner and the business will remain closed while investigations take place.

Speaking the day after the accident, Mr Marshall said everyone was “still in shock”.

“We’re all processing the tragedy today and probably will be for quite a while,” he said.

This isn’t the first skydiving accident at Goulburn Aiport.

Another instructor died and a teenager was critically injured during a skydive with Adrenaline Skydiving in Goulburn in 2015.

Adrenaline Skydiving told the ABC at the time that the pair had been caught by turbulence and crashed to the ground.

Mr Marshall said Goulburn was a very popular drop zone that operates mainly on weekends and attracts a mixture of sport skydivers and tandem passengers.

He reinforced that Adrenaline Skydiving takes safety “very seriously” and that Goulburn was a “really safe dropzone”.

He said the instructor who died on Sunday was “a very experienced skydiver” who had completed more than 2500 skydives.

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk has also described the accident as a “terrible tragedy”.

“I feel very sorry for the people involved, for their families and the skydiving fraternity. It’s not the sort of news anyone wants to hear or the type of publicity you want about your business,” he said.

*An earlier version of this story said the accident was a result of a technical failure. This was incorrect.

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