Sunday, June 11, 2017

Skydive Monroe: Fatal accident occurred June 10, 2017 at Monroe-Walton County Airport (D73), Georgia

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. - A Gwinnett County man was killed in a freak skydiving accident at a skydiving facility where he is also an instructor.

For 20 years, Joe Bennett, 49, jumped out of planes and soared through skies, landing safely each and every time.

But Saturday afternoon, the expert skydiver made a mistake that likely cost him his life.

"He just misjudged his turn from final approach to landing. Started in too low," close friend and Bennett's boss Bill Scott told Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez.

Scott owns SkyDive Monroe at the Monroe-Walton County Airport where Bennett worked as an instructor.

“It's very rare. You say, 'Wow you never saw that one coming,' with someone who has that kind of experience," Scott said.

The duo met in 1993 and instantly hit it off.

On Saturday, Scott was by his friend’s side after the tragedy and called 911.

Scott said Bennett miscalculated the landing and was seriously hurt.

"He was conscious and breathing and aware," Scott said.

But an hour after he was airlifted him to Grady Memorial Hospital, Bennett died from his injuries.

While grief-stricken, his skydiving family lowered the flag outside of the facility at half-staff and made a jump in Bennett's honor Sunday.

They glided through the skies because that is how they honor their friends.

"He as a good guy, skydiver, friend," Scott told Jaquez.

Friends and family have set up a GoFundMe account for Bennett’s family

Story and video:

MONROE, Ga -- At the Monroe-Walton County Airport, a group of skydivers boarded a plane from Skydive Monroe on Saturday.

This walk is the same one Joseph Bennett made thousands of times before. 

"The public doesn't understand why we do this sometimes - except we love jumping out of airplanes and the freefall," Skydive Monroe's owner Bill Scott said.

Scott had known Bennett for more than 20 years. And he witnessed Saturday's jump.

"The weather was clear, we had about a four mile an hour wind," he said. "Eighty-five degrees, it was excellent for skydiving."

He said Bennett completed around 6,800 jumps - often teaching others to dive or with cameras strapped to him capturing the jumps of Skydive Monroe customers.

"Good skydiver and what are you going to say," Scott said. "He became an instructor, tandem instructor, all the ratings you do for teaching students."

But despite being extremely meticulous about skydiving safety, Saturday would prove to be Bennett's last jump.

Normal opening, flew back, came in and just started his turn to come in," Scott said. "Final approach for landing and just started too low and h it the ground at a high rate of speed."

Medical staff at Skydive Monroe ran to help Bennett. He was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital where fire officials said he ultimately died of his injuries.

Scott said Bennett's wife is devastated.

"She has good family support - all of her family is around and friends," he said. Close friends are being very supportive of her and what's gone on. It is a hard thing to do.

And Scott is remembering his good friend of more than two decades.

"We jumped all over the country together," he said. "Real NASCAR fan. Loved going to Daytona. Just an all-around good guy. Just a lot of fun, always enjoyable - a lot of fun."

Story, video and photo gallery:

MONROE, Ga -- A veteran Gwinnett County skydiver was killed Saturday at the Monroe-Walton County airport. 

Bill Scott, owner of Skydive Monroe, said Joseph Bennett "made a hard landing" on impact and was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital.

Monroe Fire Department officials responded to the incident just after 2:30 pm. Bennett later died from his injuries, the department said. 

"Everything seemed normal," Scott told 11Alive's Joe Henke, who added that Bennett had some 6,000 jumps to his credit.

Bennett, 49, worked for Skydive Monroe.

Original article can be found here:

A Gwinnett County skydiver died Saturday during a parachute landing at Monroe-Walton County Airport, police said.

The accident that killed skydiving instructor Joseph Bennett happened just before 2:40 p.m., Monroe Police Chief Keith Glass said.

Fellow skydivers gave Bennett first aid until Monroe fire, police and Walton County Emergency Management Services arrived, Glass said.

He was flown to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

Bennett, 49, of Buford, was an experienced skydiver who worked for Skydive Monroe, owner of the business Bill Scott said.

He said Bennett, who he had worked with in plumbing and skydiving for more than 20 years, had made more than 6,000 drops.

There were no equipment failures or missteps in the drop Saturday, Scott said after watching the accident. 

“He just misjudged his landing approach,” Scott said.

Original article can be found here:

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