Trio Killed In Skydiving Accident Collided Mid-Air At 'Great Speed'
Coronor Nerida Wilson has labelled Australia's worst-ever skydiving accident as an 'unprecedented tragedy, an accident in an otherwise safe sport'.
Wilson delivered her findings of the inquest into the death of Kerri Anne Pike, Peter Michael Dawson and Tobias John Turner, who died from a mid-air collision while skydiving in Far North Queensland in October 2017.
All three were Mission Beach residents and their deaths shocked the community. Dawson and Turner were friends and colleagues working at Skydive Mission Beach.
Mother of eight, Pike, had been given the skydive as a 54th birthday present from her husband Alister, who was on the beach watching her tandem skydive with one of their children.
Pike was strapped to Dawson in a tandem jump, while Turner was doing a solo jump.
An investigation by Troy Nowitzki, the investigating officer, concluded the trio had collided mid-air.
Dawson had been wearing a Go-Pro at the time but it did not show the actual collision.
According to the coroner's report, primary investigations of the trio's injuries and parachutes indicated that Turner's "parachute may have opened early, causing him to rise rapidly, and Dawson and Pike have fallen through Turner's parachute, tearing it and landing on top of Turner with great speed".
"The immense force has caused all three parties to sustain significant life-threatening injuries and rendered them either unconscious or deceased."
Trevor Edwards and Kelvin Mossop were in a house nearby and saw a 'lifeless male skydiver' fall in the front yard of a neighbouring property.
Edwards had told investigators that the jumper was like a ‘bloody rag doll’ with his head down and his arms hanging limp.
The coroner found it to be a tragic accident and that Turner had made an "error of judgment regarding the appropriateness of his main parachute".
The coroner made several recommendations, including a call to improve consistency and rigour in guidelines and standards for equipment checks.