Skydiver killed after parachute fails to deploy, 5th death in 3 years at California parachute center: report

A veteran skydiver whose parachute failed to open Sunday reportedly marked the fifth fatality in three years at the Lodi Parachute Center in California.

The Stockton Record reported that at least 15 skydivers using the center have died in jumps between 1999 and 2017, and CBS Sacramentoreported Sunday’s failed jump was the fifth parachuting death at the center in the past three years.

Concerned by those numbers, Federal agents with the FBI, Department of Transportation and FAA, as well as local authorities, raided the parachute center in January. Investigators seized records and searched lockers, the Stockton Record reported. The results from that probe, however, have yet to be announced.

Nena Lowry Mason, 62, of Dillon, Colo., was identified as having died during Sunday’s jump, the San Joaquin Coroner’s Office stated, according to FOX40.

“She had a malfunction of her main parachute,” Bill Dause, the owner of the Lodi Parachute Center, told FOX 40. “Waited a long time before she got rid of that, we call it a cut-away, and activated her reserve parachute.”

The Stockton Record reported Monday the veteran diver was using her own equipment and the plane carrying her took off from the Skydive Lodi Parachute Center.

Dause said Mason was on the trip with her husband at the time of her death.

“She was jumping with her husband, he was on the same dive. They normally come out here quite frequently,” Dause said. “They have a lot of friends. They originally used to live in this area.”

In 2016, the industry’s licensing organization suspended 20 skydiving instructors. The U.S. Parachuting Association also ordered 120 instructors to undergo more training. Earlier this year, federal authorities raided the center following several similar fatalities over the last couple of years.

The Federal Aviation Administration stated it would be looking at Mason’s parachute to investigate if it was “packed by a federally approve rigger,” FOX40 reported.

According to the U.S. Parachuting Association, Mason is the 12th person to die while skydiving in the U.S. this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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