Human error probably to blame for skydiving death, says expert



A SKYDIVING expert has said the recent skydiving death near Byron Bay was likely to be due to human error.

Floyd Stuart Malcolm Thurston, 52 of Murwillumbah, died close to Tyagarah airfield on Saturday after jumping from a plane at 14,000 feet, about 4.3kms. Police from the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command said at the weekend the man's primary and reserve chutes had failed to open.

However, Robin O'Neill, chief instructor of the Western Australia Skydiving Academy, said in his 20-odd years in the industry, he had never heard of both the primary and reserve chutes failing.

"Chutes just failing, if that's the case, I'll give up now," Mr O'Neill said.

A Byron Bay Skydive spokesperson made a short statement yesterday, but would not make any further comments.

"It was a tragic accident. He was an experienced skydiver and we are all in shock about it," the spokesperson said.

Police and the Australian Parachute Federation are investigating the incident.



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