The family of a Tulare woman recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Adventure Center Skydiving claiming that the company's negligence and poor maintenance led to the death of their daughter in a skydiving accident. In addition to wrongful death, the lawsuit also alleges that the company committed fraud and caused emotional distress. The family is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.
The death of the 40-year-old victim occurred in January of 2009 after she attempted to make a jump and her parachute malfunctioned. According to reports, the Velcro holding the steering handles of the parachute had become worn and could no longer hold them in place. The loose handles caused the parachute to spin and fail to work properly.
An expert that examined the parachute allegedly claimed that it had been poorly maintained and the Velcro should have been replaced. In his opinion, if the replacement had been made it probably would have kept the chute from spinning. In the lawsuit, the woman's parents alleged that the employees of the skydiving company were also known to have been drinking or smoking marijuana while working.
After the fall, the woman was taken to a hospital and reportedly lived for three more hours, but eventually died due to internal injuries. The woman's parents claimed that the skydiving company failed to notify them as her emergency contacts and, consequently, they were unable to get to the hospital until after their daughter had died.
According to the lawsuit, the woman had taken up skydiving and had chosen to use Adventure Center Skydiving because of their safety record. However, contrary to their advertising, which claimed no fatal accidents, the company allegedly had experienced two previous fatalities in skydiving accidents.
Source: Fresno Bee, Tulare woman's family sues skydive business, Lewis Griswold, 1/26/11