SYDNEY: Three people died Friday in what is believed to be a mid-air skydiving collision, with one of the victims found in someone’s garden.
Two men in their 30s and a woman in her 50s were found dead at Mission Beach, south of popular tourist town Cairns, mid-afternoon.
“Initial investigations indicate that a solo skydiver may have collided with tandem skydivers in mid-air with their parachutes failing to deploy correctly,” police said in a statement.
“Two men in their 30s and a woman in her 50s were located deceased at the scene.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation cited ambulance officials as saying one of them fell onto someone’s lawn.
“We had a report of a skydiver who had been found in the garden at a residence in Mission Beach,” said Queensland Ambulance Service’s Neil Noble.
“Shortly thereafter we received another report of another two skydivers that’d been found close by.”
An unnamed eyewitness told the Cairns Post newspaper the mood in the town was sombre as residents came to terms with what had happened.
“I didn’t see anyone near them, but they were at a fairly high altitude so maybe a collision happened further up,” he said.
“You could see one chute was tangled and it wasn’t opening.
“I was just watching him in free fall until he went behind the trees, and that was the last I saw.”
Skydive Australia said operations at Mission Beach had been suspended while investigations were underway.
Located midway between Cairns and Townsville, Mission Beach,a gateway to Dunk Island, is popular with backpackers making their way down the Queensland state coast. — AFP