Friday, March 28, 2014

Sussex Airport (KFWN), New Jersey

Two injured in skydiving accident during Safety Day at Sussex Airport

WANTAGE — The co-owner of a skydiving facility said he “misjudged” a skydive landing when he collided with a person and a picnic table at Safety Day at the Sussex Airport on Saturday.

Richard Winstock, 45, of Hackettstown, who co-owns Skydive Sussex and is national director of the U.S. Parachute Association, collided around 6:45 p.m. with fellow skydiver Tyfani Detky, 25, of Stockholm, who was sitting at the picnic table, New Jersey State Police Trooper Jeff Flynn said.

Detky was knocked unconscious and Winstock broke his leg. Both were transported by helicopter to Morristown Medical Center, Flynn said.

Detky remains at Morristown Medical Center in fair condition, a hospital spokeswoman said on Thursday.

Winstock, who was released from the hospital on Tuesday, said he was falling about 20 mph when he crashed into Detky and the table. This was his first accident in about 25 years of skydiving.

“I have 14,000 jumps, and I’ve never so much as broken a nail,” he said.

Winstock plans to return to skydiving in about four months. He has co-owned Sussex Skydive at the Sussex Airport in Wantage since July 2013. The facility opened for the season about two weeks ago.

“I love Sussex,” he said. “It is a great airport, and we are having a good time there.”

The accident occurred near the end of the U.S. Parachute Association’s Safety Day, which included safety seminars and jumps.

Winstock said beginners should not be concerned about the type of landing accident he was involved in because newcomers always do tandem skydiving, where the person is connected to a harness attached to an instructor during the jump.

“We have a flawless safety record with tandem skydiving and a brand new plane,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to a great season.”

The U.S. Parachute Association said that there were 19 fatal skydiving accidents and 915 non-fatal skydiving injuries out of about 3.1 million jumps in the United States in 2012.

“Tandem skydiving is extremely safe,” Winstock said, adding people are more likely to die in a car crash.

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