Roswell skydiver who died after parachute malfunction was on first solo mission, officials say

POLK COUNTY, Ga. — Family, friends and the local skydiving community are mourning the death of a woman who was flying her first solo mission.

The company said it was her first training jump by herself as a student, but she was with an instructor, Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach learned.

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They took off from the airport a few miles and were supposed to land in a field in Polk County, but something went wrong after the free fall.

Skydive Spaceland Atlanta was closed, and no one was available to speak on camera on Tuesday, but a spokesperson said they are all deeply saddened, and their hearts hurt for the 26-year-old victim from Roswell, her family and friends.

Spaceland said there was a complication with her primary chute, but the exact cause is still under investigation.

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According to the U.S. Parachute Association, all skydivers have a reserve chute, and all student jumpers have an electronic safety device to automatically deploy the backup if something goes wrong.

Their stats show accidental deaths are very rare.

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Out of more than 3 1/2 million jumps last year, there were only 10 fatalities nationwide, a record low.

However, this isn’t the first skydiving death from the same Polk County Airport.

In 2014, a man working for a competing company collided with another jumper at 13,000 feet and fell to his death.

The Federal Aviation Administration told Channel 2 investigations into skydiving accidents are limited to inspecting the packing of the parachute, the reserve, and rules of flight for the pilot and plane, but it does not investigate to determine the actual cause.

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