The annual Carolina Fest skydiving festival was the scene of tragedy early Saturday evening when an experienced skydiver from Boca Raton, Florida actually collided with another diver mid-air and plunged 14,000 feet to his death.
The incident occurred in Chester County, S.C. and deputies reported that the body of the skydiver, identified as 32-year-old Bond Springer, was discovered at about 8:52 a.m. on Sunday in the woods near Skydive Carolina, located on King Air Drive near Chester Municipal Airport.
In a news release from the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, the authorities advised that Springer and the second diver, who was identified as Avalon Wolf, jumped from a plane in wing suits during their performances, but things seemed to go horribly wrong. Wolf said that he released his main parachute after the mid-air collision and while he was able to land safely, at least in relation to the fact that Springer died, the collision left him suffering from a severe broken leg obtained when he fairly crash landed. His account was also corroborated by a statement from Skydrive Carolina, which is the company the two men were working with.
It was, however, unclear where Springer, who had been wearing a wingsuit, landed and rescue crews were called in in order to help locate the skydiver. The rescue crews could not, however, find Springer’s body immediately after he plunged out if the sky, and the search had to be called off due to an impending storm and resumed the net day.
According to the Kansas City Star, investigators are treating the area where the body was discovered as a crime scene and will begin their investigations from there, a move which Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse stated is standard procedure when dealing with the discovery of a body. The Chester County coroner was called to the scene shortly after the body of the skydiver was discovered.
A Skydive Carolina spokesman wrote an email statement in response to inquiries from the media about the death of their skydiver, Bond Springer, wherein they expressed sadness regarding the man’s death.
“Our community is saddened by the loss of a community member and choose to take this time to remember him quietly.”
Though their statement could not give many details into the ongoing investigation, Skydrive Carolina did say that they do not believe equipment malfunction played any part in the mid-air collision and death of Springer. Omaha reported that investigating officials would not state whether or not Springer had tried to release his own parachute and if it did actually open in the end.
Springer and Wolf were performing a skydiving technique called wingsuit flying when the mid-air collision occurred. The wingsuit that Bond Springer and Avalon Wolf were diving in is a jumpsuit that has fabric or inflatables added to certain sections like under the arms and between the legs. The extra surface area is supposed to provide extra lift by catching the wind and allowing the divers to glide, also slowing the rate of falling by doing the same thing.
Though still unsure as to what caused the mid-air collision and subsequent death of the experienced skydiver, both drugs and alcohol have been ruled out as contributing factors.
CarolinaFest is a skydiving festival, hosted by Skydive Carolina, and was established in 1986. The event lasts six days and is meant to celebrate the extreme sport through games, live performances, and demonstrations by expert divers by the premier skydiving center, Skydive Carolina. Skydive Carolina has stated that the festival tends to attract skydivers from all over the world. The 2016 skydiving event officially began on May 31 and was scheduled to conclude at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
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