Sunday, April 20, 2014

Freefall Adventures at Cross Keys Airport (17N), Williamstown, Monroe Township, New Jersey

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the death of a skydiver. 

 Arkady Shenker, 49, of Brooklyn, died Sunday afternoon skydiving from a plane that had taken off from Freefall Adventures, located at Cross Keys Airport. Washington Township police first responded to a call of an injured skydiver at 2:12 p.m. 

Shenker was pronounced dead at Kennedy Hospital in Washington Township about 3:30 p.m.

Although initial reports suggested that Shenker’s parachute had malfunctioned, it was still not clear Monday what had caused the accident. 

Shenker was also using a “wing suit,” a special jumpsuit designed with extra fabric to help skydivers maneuver as they parachute to the ground. 

Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Bernie Wisenfeld said that an autopsy on Shenker was still pending, and that his equipment was being handed over to the FAA for further inspection. 
Jim Peters, a spokesman from the FAA, could not confirm whether the parachute had properly deployed, but said local authorities had reported it had not opened.

Skydiving experts said that Shenker’s experience — at least 350 jumps in all — would have made him a “very qualified” jumper. The United States Parachuting Association, among other groups, sets a minimum guideline of 200 jumps before a skydiver can even begin using a wing suit. 

The suits first rose to popularity in 1999 and are also commonly used in base jumping.
Ed Scott, executive director of the USPA, said the wing suits come with their own rules.

“Even for an experienced jumper, the wing suit requires some training and some jumps to get used to the differences,” he said. “There is a different procedure for deploying the parachute to make sure you get a clean jump.”

Scott added that although medical emergencies that would prevent a diver from successfully completing a jump are not unheard of, they are extremely rare.

Freefall Adventures did not return requests for comment on Monday. According to the skydiving forum and advocacy website, the most recent fatality at Freefall occurred in 2012.
Skydiving accident rates are fairly low, given the intimidating nature of the hobby. 

According to the USPA, there were 19 fatalities nationwide in 2012 out of an estimated 3.1 million jumps.

Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

MONROE TWP., N.J. - A 49-year-old man from Brooklyn, New York, died on Sunday afternoon while skydiving at Freefall Adventures in Monroe Township, New Jersey.  Police say Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute known as a "wing suit," which allows a skydiver to move forward while descending. It is unclear whether the suit opened properly, according to authorities.  Federal authorities will investigate the functionality of the suit.

Shenker landed behind a yard in the 100 block of Tuckahoe Road in Monroe Township.

He jumped from an airplane at about 2 p.m. and was pronounced dead at 3:38 p.m. at Kennedy Hospital, Washington Township, New Jersey.

Shenker was described as an experienced skydiver with 350 jumps and was a frequent visitor to Freefall Adventures. The airplane he boarded today along with 15 others was the fourth load of skydivers of the day that flew from Cross Keys Airport, where Freefall is located. Authorities say Shenker came to Freefall Adventures alone.

The Federal Aviation Administration will further investigate.

Skydiver Arkady Shenker falls into backyard, dies in accident in Monroe Township

MONROE TOWNSHIP - Authorities say a 49-year-old man who landed in the backyard of a home after a skydiving accident in southern New Jersey has died.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office says it's unclear whether the specialized parachute that Arkady Shenker, of Brooklyn, was wearing during the jump around 2 p.m. Sunday opened properly.
Officials say Shenker was an experienced skydiver with more than 350 jumps. He was wearing a "wing suit," which allows a skydiver to move forward while descending. A spokesman for the prosecutor's office says that federal authorities will investigate.
Shenker was skydiving in a plane operated by Freefall Adventures in Monroe along with 15 others. 


Man Dies After Parachute Fails During Skydiving Jump

A man died after his parachute failed during a South Jersey skydiving jump Sunday afternoon. He landed in a Sewell backyard in the 100 block of Tuckahoe Road.

 Arkady Shenker, 49, wore a specialized parachute known as a "wing suit," which allows a skydiver to move forward while descending. It is unclear whether the suit opened properly, according to the Gloucester County prosecutor's office. Its functionality will be investigated by federal authorities.

"We seen him coming down. He was going around and around and the chute was here and he was here," said witness Lamont Dye. "As soon as I seen that I knew he was in trouble."

The Brooklyn native was parachuting with Freefall Adventures in Monroe Township. He was an experienced skydiver with 350 jumps and a frequent visitor of Freefall Adventures. His last jump from an airplane occured at about 2 p.m. There were 15 others onboard the plane that took off from Cross Keys Airport.

As Shenker drew closer to the ground, his parachute did not open. Witnesses said he was spiraling as he was coming down fast. Emergency Medical Services transported him via helicopter to Kennedy Hospital in Washington Township where he was pronounced dead at 3:38 p.m.

While at the scene, NBC10 reporter Na'eem Douglas saw more skydivers parachuting from the sky hours after the Shenker's accident.

Rutledge Mayor C. Scott Shields died March 25, 2011 in a Freefall Advenutures skydiving accident.

Freefall Adventures describes their skydiving experience on their website: "Taking skydiving from the eXtreme to the mainstream, our skydives are made from 13,500 feet, 35% higher than our competition. Utilizing the latest technology, combined with our specialized skydiving instruction, we can have you in the air making your first skydive within minutes of your arrival."

NBC10 reached out to Freefall Adventures. The company replied they had no comment. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.

Story, video and comments/reaction:

November 27, 2012:

The skydiver who was found dead in a field in Monroe Township, Gloucester County last week still had his parachute packed and never pulled the primary or emergency cords, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

 Gloucester County Trial Chief Mary Pyffer said the man was identified as Donald Lawrence Morozin, 62, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa. He was a certified diver and a regular at Freefall Adventures, based out of the Cross Keys Airport in Williamstown, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

"The man had hypertension and other medical issues that caused him to pass out," Pyffer said, explaining why he never pulled the cords.

Morozin was reported missing after an afternoon jump on Nov. 21. A New Jersey State Police helicopter located his body around 5 p.m. that day, in a field off Pitman-Downer Road.

The Federal Aviation Administration responded to the scene to investigate the incident, according to Pyffer. The FAA examined the parachute and "determined it to be packed correctly," according to Pyffer.

"The primary and emergency cords were never pulled," Pyffer added.

An autopsy conducted on Nov. 23 determined the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries and the manner of death was accidental, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

 The victim of a fatal skydiving accident last week in Monroe Township was identified by authorities today as Donald Lawrence Morozin of Bala Cynwyd. He was 62. 

 Morozin's death on Wednesday has been ruled accidental, the result of multiple traumatic injuries, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office. His body was found 300 feet from the parachute landing zone at the Freefall Adventures skydiving school, based in Cross Keys Airport in Williamstown, officials said.

Accident investigators found that the certified skydiver, who had performed more than 3,500 jumps, had not pulled the parachute's primary or emergency chords, said Mary Pyffer, trial chief with the Prosecutor's Office.

Morozin was "known to have hypertension and other medical issues that could cause him to pass out," Pyffer said.

The Federal Aviation Administration examined the parachute and determined that it had been packed correctly and was operational, she said.

The FAA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attempts to reach family members have been unsuccessful.

Story, video and reaction/comments:

Officials investigate the scene where the body of a skydiver was found in a field off of Glassboro Cross Keys Road, near Appletree Lane, in Monroe Township. Photo by Lori M. Nichols/South Jersey Times

MONROE TWP. — Police are reporting that the body of a skydiver was found 300 feet off of Glassboro-Cross Keys Road near Cross Keys Airport in Williamstown.  The airport is located on Dahlia Avenue in Williamstown, part of Monroe Township in Gloucester County. The body was discovered by a N.J. State Police helicopter around 5 p.m., according to authorities. Initial reports said the incident occurred around 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, the skydiver — who has not been identified by authorities — was jumping at Freefall Adventures, which is based at Cross Keys Airport. The skydiver then went missing.
Monroe Township Police Chief Joe Smart confirmed the body of the skydiver had been found. A member of Freefall Adventures said shortly after 6 p.m. that the person was a licensed skydiver but was not associated with their group.

Smart said the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office and Federal Aviation Administration were investigating.

A representative from the FAA did not have information about the incident when reached for comment, but said that they typically will investigate whether the parachute was packed correctly.

The Prosecutor's Office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Two parachutists at Freefall Adventures died in 2011, according to previous reports. The mayor of Rutledge, a Pennsylvania town in Delaware County died in March when his parachute failed to open. In March 2012, a Philadelphia man was rescued from a tree near the airport after his parachute became entangled.

In 2010, the United States Parachute Association recorded 21 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. — a decrease from the 1970s when the average was reported to be 42.5 fatalities per year, according to the association's website.

 Previous skydiving incidents at Freefall Adventures

May 2011 -- Williamstown parachutist dies after mid-air collision in Monroe Township

March 2011 -- Pennsylvania mayor dies when his main parachute was not deployed and his reserve failed to full inflate

September 2006 -- A tandem parachute instructor and his 28-year-old student were killed when their main and reserve parachutes failed to properly deploy

July 2005 -- Two experienced skydivers were killed when their parachutes collided as they were practicing a high-performance synchronized landing

September 2004 -- An experienced skydiver was killed when he lost track of altitude and failed to deploy his parachute before striking the ground

 A man was killed in a skydiving accident late Wednesday afternoon in Gloucester County, authorities said.

The accident occurred at Freefall Adventures, which provides skydiving lessons and activities at the Cross Keys Airport in Williamstown. The man's name was not released.

His body was found about 300 feet from the parachute landing zone, authorities said. The accident is under investigation by the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The former mayor of Rutledge Borough, Delaware County, died in 2011 during a skydiving accident at Freefall Adventures.

March 25, 2011
Skydiver Dies in South Jersey. Attorney C. Scott Shields, an experienced skydiver, often jumped at Cross Keys Airport (17N), Cross Keys, New Jersey

Scott Shields
March 25, 2011, Shields made his last leap from 13,000 feet at Freefall Adventures in Gloucester County, New Jersey

Scott Shields was passionate about his politics, his legal practice, his borough and his daughters. When outside the courtroom and council chambers, the mayor of Rutledge was also fanatical about his hobbies. Whether zipping around in his Porsche or aboard his Ducati motorcycle, lacing up his hockey skates or rooting for his Florida Gators, friends of Shields said he only had one gear. “Scott was very energetic and always on the go,” said Greg Lebold, president of Rutledge Borough Council. “Whatever Scott got involved with, he went at it full bore.” That certainly was the case with Shields’ most beloved hobby of late, skydiving.

An experienced skydiver died during a jump Friday afternoon after his main parachute failed to open in Williamstown, N.J., according to authorities.

Medical officials responded to Cross Keys Airport after the jumper's main chute never deployed.

Delaware County attorney C. Scott Shields died in the incident, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

Shields was a graduate of the University of Florida and Widener School of Law who specialized in personal injury defense, according to his website.

Shields' backup chute never fully inflated...

The 45-year-old father of three was jumping with a group of skydivers.

For unknown reasons Shields never deployed his main chute and his emergency chute, which opens automatically, never fully inflated, witnesses told prosecutors.

"Apparently something occurred from the time he left the plane to the time he landed on the ground," said Williamstown Police Captain Joe Smart.

Officials say Shields landed in the trees near the airport around 4:25 p.m. A red parachute could be seen dangling in the nearby woods.

Shields was pronounced dead on arrival at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, N.J.

Besides being an attorney he also served as the two-term mayor of Rutledge, Pa. and ran for judge back in 2007.

"I was completely shocked," said Rutledge Council President Greg Lebold. "Had so much to live for, enjoyed life, really did."

Shields’ grief-stricken friends and family turned to Facebook to remember Scott -- many of the posters wishing him "blue skies."

Freefall Adventures Inc. operates out of the airport on Dahlia Avenue. Shields had jumped with them before.

Despite the death, the company continued jumps Friday afternoon.

"The business has been there for numerous years," said Smart. "it’s been an extremely safe business and these things rarely happen for the amount of jumpers that do go there."

FAA officials will meet with prosecutors Saturday to inspect Shields parachute and rig, officials said. There was no immediate official cause for Shields death.

An experienced skydiver died during a jump Friday afternoon in Williamstown, N.J., Monroe Township Police have confirmed.
   Medical officials were called to Cross Keys Airport to respond to a skydiving accident involving a male jumper.
The single jumper landed in the trees near the airport and died in the parachute accident, police said.
   It was unclear if the unidentified victim crashed because of mechanical problems or a health issue, cops said.    A red parachute could be seen dangling in the trees near the airport.    The name of the jumper will be released after family is notified, authorities said.    Freefall Adventures Inc. operates out of the airport on Dahlia Avenue.


MONROE TWP. — A man died this afternoon following a skydiving accident at Cross Keys Airport, Monroe Township police Det. Lt. Joe Smart said.

He declined to identify the victim pending notification of family but said the man was skydiving at Freefall Adventures Inc., located at the airport on Dahlia Avenue.

The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the exact cause of what Smart said has been deemed an accident.

“At this point in time, we don’t know the cause,” he said. “It could have been a health issue, it could have been mechanical failure, it could have been human error.”

Smart added that authorities don’t believe the victim was a novice jumper. A first-time skydiver, or “tandem jumper,” would have to jump with an experienced mentor.

“From what we’ve gathered, we think he was an experienced jumper,” he said.