It was just on the news. According to the report it was his second solo jump, sounds like AFF. Police are quoted as saying he likely had a heart attack in mid-air. They said he had filled out a health questionnaire. The report wasn't sensationalised IMO.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (UPI) -- A New Zealand skydiving instructor pulled the ripcord on his students parachute as they plummeted to earth after the student lost consciousness.
The Wellington Dominion Post reports the student was on his second jump when he became unresponsive 20 seconds into free fall Tuesday. He was pronounced dead after landing.
Police told the Post the 69-year-old man, who is believed to have been a military skydiver in the past, suffered a heart attack.
Skydive Abel Tasman instructor Stuart Beam said he, another instructor and the student jumped together at 13,000 feet, arms linked. Bean pulled the student`s ripcord when he noticed the man had become unresponsive.
A man who died while making a solo parachute jump over Motueka yesterday was a former British paratrooper.
Police said today that William Patrick Alexander Sills, 69, of Richmond, near Nelson, had been living in New Zealand for about four years.
Acting Sergeant Rob Crawford, of Motueka police, said Mr Sills was retired and had a partner in Richmond and other family in Wellington.
He had been a paratrooper in Britain, but was a newcomer to freefall skydiving.
Mr Sills is believed to have had a heart attack while making his second jump on a solo skydiving course with two instructors after exiting the parachutists' aircraft over Motueka Airport just before 10am yesterday.
Skydive Abel Tasman chief safety officer Stuart Bean had to activate Mr Sills' parachute when he appeared to get into difficulties and became unresponsive about halfway into the 45-second freefall from 3600m.
When Mr Sills' parachute opened, he failed to respond to instructions by radio on how to control the parachute flight under canopy and descended in a slow spiral before clipping the roof of an industrial building in King Edward St, Motueka, and crashing to the ground.
He was dead when emergency services arrived.
Mr Crawford said Mr Sills appeared fit and healthy, but was presumed to have had an ailment that would be confirmed at a post-mortem being done in Nelson today.
Mr Sills had parachuted with Skydive Abel Tasman about four days before yesterday's jump and found it "quite exciting", Mr Crawford said.
"I think he was that way inclined anyway, with his previous experiences," he said.
Mr Sills had found freefall skydiving was "completely different" to his earlier paratrooping experiences.
"I suppose (his death) is a little ironical, but it's a different game altogether, apparently," Mr Crawford said.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner and the Civil Aviation Authority is investigating.