Skydiver dies on first solo jump

2012-05-14 07:50

Durban - A 57-year-old skydiving student's lesson ended in his death in circumstances that were not fully explained on Sunday.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said they are aware that a 57-year-old man died in Eston when he was skydiving at around midday on Sunday.

Skydiver Vernon Kloppers said the man was a skydiving student at the Durban Skydive Centre and this was his first solo jump.

He was by himself when the accident happened.

“The student exited the plane well and the parachute opened. He did a good job after jumping and he was controlling the parachute. At about 1 500 feet he was not responsive to the signals from the instructor on the ground who gives directions on which side to land. We don’t know exactly what happened, but at about 1500 feet he was no longer flying the parachute,” said Kloppers.

Jeffrey Wicks of Netcare 911 said they were called to the scene to treat the injured skydiver.

“On arrival we found that a man had collided with a wall and was in a critical condition. When examined, we found that he had died.”

Police said an inquest docket was opened and they are investigating.

Jeevan added that post-mortem examination will be conducted soon to establish the cause of death.

  • Marion - 2012-05-14 08:01


  • venet.smit - 2012-05-14 08:07

    Did he have a heart attack or something. At that age over excitement can cause a lot of things but at least he died doing something he liked. RIP.

      Johan - 2012-05-14 11:09

      My Grandma was 70 when she did her first, (and only) jump.

      Hugh - 2012-05-14 12:01

      Looks like it, the canopy was open, just not flying it. Blue sky's.

      Megan - 2012-05-14 12:05

      My mom and I went skydiving in 2010. She was 61 then. I nearly had a heart attack, I was 22, so it is possible.

      chilli.stephenson1 - 2012-05-14 13:36

      @Johan... Sho, Your Gran is LEGend.... wait for it.... DARY!

  • kabelo.leballo - 2012-05-14 08:13

    May His Soul Rest In Peace...

  • Frans - 2012-05-14 08:21

    Condolences to the family. Why are you guys so hard on @Africanism? He only say what's on his mind - WHICH WE ALL CAN SEE IS NOT A LOT!!

  • Willem - 2012-05-14 08:30

    Life, an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved. What a way to go, whilst living life to the fullest. Blue Skies Bro! You were much closer to heaven when you departed.

  • mokheled - 2012-05-14 08:34

    Dear Lord Forgive those who dont respect human life and losing a life a painful to families and people like africanism dnt have a brain to understand why u put him in this world. 4give him. May his soul rest in peace.

  • tony.kirby1 - 2012-05-14 08:40

    I know it is a sport and so on. But my late dad who was a pilot for many years, used to say " why would any body want to jumps out of perfectly sound aircraft." Bearing in mind he started flying in 1940 before skydiving days.

      SkyMarkyMarkD - 2012-05-14 09:05

      The comment "why would any body want to jumps out of perfectly sound aircraft." is so overused and painful to skydivers ears. RIP dude BSBD

      SkyMarkyMarkD - 2012-05-14 09:05

      If you want to feel what its like to swim, get out of those boat.

      marelizej - 2012-05-14 09:19

      If riding in an airplane is flying, then riding in a boat is swimming. If you want to experience the element, then get out of the vehicle... RIP.

      marelizej - 2012-05-14 09:50

      And maybe you would find this article interesting too, tony.kirby1. To quote the last paragraph of the article: "Maybe some people aren't meant to move through life with both feet constantly on the ground, at earthbound speeds with an everyday view. Maybe some brains need to know a different kind of more, and itch for the high-risk adventure somewhere in between daily life. Where do you stand? You may find that jumping out of a perfectly good plane makes a lot of sense to you."

      tony.kirby1 - 2012-05-14 17:35

      I just mentioned something that my dad had said. Now Some people get touchy. Sorry if it is painfully to your ears SkyMark. I have nothing against skydiving. So relax mate. Happy and safe skydriving.

      dan.cooper.9634 - 2012-09-01 20:57

      why would any body want to jumps out of perfectly sound aircraft ill give you a good reason Just one good look at those pilots will make anybody jump. those pilots are so scary that most students cant stand it and start jumping at 3000 feet , the older lot have a bit more nerve and usualy hold out to 13000 feet . Read some of the stories in the news about planes that land in wrong countries , pilots comments ect and you will start to understand that any sane person will jump out of a perfectly good aircraft with a not so perfectly good pilot

  • terrence.naicker.1 - 2012-05-14 08:50

    I hope I have the b*lls to be skydiving at 57. Tragic accident. RIP sir. Here I was thinking that once the chute deployed you were safe !!!

  • sello.moloi - 2012-05-14 08:57

    at his age, i guess his heart couldn't cope with the last spike of adrenalin as he was about to land. i've done two tandem jumps but still not ready for solo attempt. he has earned my respect. may his soul rest in peace.

  • andynct - 2012-05-14 09:04

    That's at least 3 sky diving deaths in SA in the past year. Is that a lot? Is there a problem?

      Morne - 2012-05-14 09:37

      Strangely the last two deaths could happen in any high adrenaline situation ,seems like natural causes and not a "skydiving mishap" .Wont know unless post mortem results are released.

      marelizej - 2012-05-14 09:38

      No andynct. I don't think there is a problem. Remember that skydiving is a very small community - I am sure other sports have a higher fatility rate but doesn't necessarily reach headlines. Read this articl to understand the sport better:

      Patsy - 2012-05-14 09:49

      Many more deaths from road accidents. Especially taxi accidents.

      deon.bosman.9 - 2012-05-14 11:33

      Skydiving fatalities worldwide are few and far between! Accidents do happen as in any other sport but taking the risk into account comparing to injuries/fatalities it can be considered as relatively safe! Skydiving is highly regulated and saftey standards are extremely high!

      Konanani - 2012-05-14 12:34

      Farmers r dying too

  • Patsy - 2012-05-14 09:44

    Sounds as if he could've had a stroke or heart attack mid-flight. ope he didn't suffer. RIP

      Patsy - 2012-05-14 09:50

      I mis-typed... I meant I Hope he didn't suffer.

  • clivegoss - 2012-05-14 09:50

    Some of the ten commandments of skydiving. Check thy altimeter or the earth will rush up and smite thee. Blessed are those who leap in high winds for the doctors grown rich with the results thereof. Blessed are those who jump without a prejump inspection.., reserve openings at/in terminal velocity has great educational value R I P

  • Bomb - 2012-05-14 10:21

    @nigel.....the news24 day news editor has proven herself to be a anti-white racist biggot, so obviously objectiveness will be thrown out the window. Obviously a "comrade appointment".

  • Nigel - 2012-05-14 10:42

    As an ex-Skydiver - RIP old man. Those that have never participated in this sport will never understand the bond between Skydivers, and that's quite understandable. Don't assume anything - let the investigations reveal the truth. The risks are there and we all accept them, as did this student. Never easy or comfortable to hear of a skydiving fatality.

      deon.bosman.9 - 2012-05-14 10:46

      As a fellow skydiver I agree Nigel! Not responding to batons indicates the guy was not consious! PS! Not an old man! I'm 55 and still going strong!

      Nigel - 2012-05-14 15:44

      @ Deon - I agree. I suspect a heart attack, but let's see. Not nice to hear about this.

  • stanton.clarke - 2012-05-14 11:50

    Why does some fool always have to post a comment referring to race. RIP to the skydiver.

  • Had - 2012-05-14 12:00

    RIP and condolences to family and friends. Did the reporter really mean first "solo" jump, or did he/she mean first "free-fall" jump ? Do people learn how to jump in tandem now and progress to "solo" ?

  • Heather - 2012-05-14 12:07

    I find it disgusting that the family of the sky diver had not been told anything by the Durban Sky Center, police or paramedics as of this morning as to what exactly happened to their husband/father and had to hear about it on this website?

  • nathi.mnisi.7 - 2012-05-14 12:32

    How this turned into a racial competition and debate is beyond me, some people here have no respect for the deceased, some of the comments made are an embarrasement to us all as a nation, R.I.P to the skydiver, may his soul rest in peace,

  • helene.cillie - 2012-05-14 13:04

    Heart attack.

  • Lee - 2012-05-14 13:15

    Shame his son and his mother were watching at the time. He was going to do this with his son on Saturday but said he would rather do it on Sunday for mothers day. Very sad

  • Peace - 2012-05-14 13:24

    A former colleague of mine died from a sky diving accident and he was an experienced sky diving instructor,well he died doing what he loved what can we say,but it`s sad for a man to die like this.

  • Billy - 2012-05-14 13:39

    rip. at least he went doing something exciting

  • davevdm - 2012-05-14 13:54


  • deon.bosman.9 - 2012-05-14 15:11

    Delighted to see some of those racist comments has been removed from this page! Why in the world would anyone want to add colour to any event?

  • George - 2012-05-14 17:33

    Skydiving is dangerous.

  • brionyl.french - 2012-05-15 06:57


  • Mark - 2012-05-15 08:46

    May your soul and spirit be the same as it was here Gareth. We will never forget your total enthusiasm in life, for life. Knowing you for some 45 years the event is shattering. Peace my friend and love to Debbie, Ryan and Craig.

  • apgreeff - 2012-05-22 09:46

    Skydiving does not seem to be the pastime for the week....

  • pages:
  • 1