Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ray, Michigan: Two hurt in skydiving accident in northern Macomb

A skydiver suffered life-threatening injuries Saturday night when he fell out of control and landed on a female pedestrian who was in the landing zone of an airstrip in northern Macomb County, according to state and local authorities.

The incident happened about 6:20 p.m. as members of the Midwest Freefall Sport Parachute Club conducted jumps from a grass airstrip on Kunstman Road near Romeo Plank Road in Ray Township.

A skydiver encountered difficulty during a jump and began falling out of control and struck a tree before he collided with the pedestrian on the ground, according to a news release issued by Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw.

Shaw said the skydiver and the woman on the ground were transported to a local hospital by EMS crews. The skydiver was reported to be in critical condition and the female victim sustained non life-threatening injuries, Shaw said in the release. The names, ages and hometowns of the two injured people were not released.

It was not immediately clear why the female victim was in the landing zone, officials said.

The news release indicated the accident took place at Ray Township Airport, but airport manager George Fox late Saturday said there had been no incident at his facility. Ray Township fire officials said the Kunstman air strip was the location of the accident.

Ray Township Assistant Fire Chief Cecil Schoenherr said it was the club’s second accident of the season.

“This type of accident is pretty rare,” Schoenherr said. “They run a pretty good club over there. But anytime you’re jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet, you’re taking a risk.”

Due to the federal government partial shutdown, the Federal Aviation Administration was unable to provide information on the incident or whether the FAA was going to conduct an investigation, Laura J. Brown, an FAA public affairs officer, said in an email.

According to the club’s website, Midwest Freefall Sport Parachute Club is a non-profit entity based at the airstrip that exists to promote the enjoyment of skydiving and sport parachuting. A message on the website indicates the club wishes to “share the experience with others in a careful, controlled manner.”

Randy Allison, the club’s general manager, could not be reached for comment Saturday night. 


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