Saturday, July 27, 2013

Skydiving victim was decorated soldier

Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 30-year-old Honolulu man who died in Tuesday's skydiving accident was a decorated Army veteran. 

 Capt. Martin Monahan, who was assigned to Schofield Barracks since 2010, was twice awarded the bronze star and served three tours in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said that Monahan struck the horizontal stabilizer at the back of Skydive Hawaii's Cessna Caravan aircraft shortly after he jumped from the plane.

A source familiar with the incident says Monahan was training for his license and was on his 23rd jump with Skydive Hawaii at Dillingham Airfield.

He was practicing a required maneuver known as a "hop and pop" where the skydiver jumps from an altitude of about 5,000 feet, instead of the usual 12,000 to 14,000 feet.

The source says there was some damage on the plane's tail and that the pilot was aware of that damage when it occurred. The pilot then ordered the remaining tandem skydivers in the plane to jump at a lower than normal altitude, the source said.

Monahan died Wednesday from his injuries.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating. But the source says the agencies didn't find any problems with the maintenance or record keeping for the aircraft and the parachute involved in the accident.

Skydiving accidents have claimed the lives of about half a dozen Skydive Hawaii customers and employees since the 1990s.

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