Skydiver killed in Tauranga is believed to have been an instructor

A man who died in a parachute accident at Tauranga Airport on Saturday is believed to have been a skydiving instructor.

Emergency services were called to the airport on Kittyhawk Way at 10.33am after reports that a person had crashed in a parachute.

St John Ambulance took the man to Tauranga Hospital but he died on the way.

A witness said on the NZ Herald Facebook page that the man was a skydiving instructor . His parachute appeared to have got “tangled up”.

#BREAKINGA person has died after a parachute crash at Tauranga Airport.

A Skydive Tauranga employee told Radio NZ that the man was “a competitive sports skydiver”.

“For us, the most important thing is to make sure that his family is good and then all of the people in our groundcrew here are supported,” the employee said.

“So we’ve just suspended operations for the next few days while we all make sure everyone is supported.”

The employee said the company was assisting the police and the Civil Aviation Authority. WorkSafe has also been notified.

Skydive Tauranga has promised a public statement on Monday.

NZ Parachute Federation vice-chairwoman Lisa Chambers said the witnesses were probably referring to a “line twist”.

“Line twists can occur easily through poor body positioning when you are opening your parachute, which you can normally correct yourself. It’s not usually fatal,” she said.

“They don’t happen very often for the amount of times you do skydiving.”

She said fatal skydiving accidents were rare.

“It’s not as dangerous as people think, so this sounds like something has gone horribly wrong for whatever reason, and it could be human error.”

Skydive Tauranga was incorporated in 2018 and is owned by four directors, each with a quarter share: Donnie Banez, Guillaume Calmelet, Jennifer Culblaith and Tristan Webb.

Banez is an information technology consultant and was educated at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

Guillaume Calmelet is a former advertising copywriter who describes himself as a “freelance creative”, Jennifer Culblaith is a personal health and fitness trainer and Tristan Webb is a licensed scuba trainer.

Former All Blacks captain Sir Richie McCaw jumped with the company in December as an ambassador for Tourism NZ.

You may have heard, we took All Blacks legend @richiemccaw for a jump yesterday and showed him the @bayofplentynz from 15,000ft! Such an awesome time, stay tuned for the video!

Kiwi singer-songwriter Gin Wigmore jumped with the company on Tuesday carrying the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup trophy, to promote next year’s World Cup which kicks off in Tauranga on March 4.

Yesterday we had the pleasure to jump with rock legend @ginwigmore and the ICC Women's World Cup trophy, to mark 1 year…

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