Aussie skydiving champ dies in freak accident

2010-09-27 09:56

Sydney – A veteran skydiver with more than 7 400 jumps to her name was killed after a mid-air collision when her parachute became entangled with another jumper’s.

Fiona McEachern (50) was competing in a four-way formation jump at the North Queensland state championships when she became entangled in another jumper’s lines in a “freak accident” on Saturday, said parachuting officials.

“She’s been in the sport a long time and she’s a very, very skilled person. It’s just deeply shocking when something like this happens to someone so experienced,” said Australian Parachuting Federation safety chief Paul Osborne.

“The skydiving community is like a big family. We all know each other. When we lose one of our own, it deeply affects us,” he told ABC radio.

He said McEachern “just happened to be in the same place at the same time” as the other jumper, who survived the accident, and described it as “an incredibly unfortunate set of circumstances”.

McEachern, a veterinary surgeon, was one of the world’s most experienced female skydivers, winning a silver medal at the sport’s 1998 World Cup in Portugal and representing Australia at the International Parachuting Commission.

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