Professional Skier Dies after Mid-Air Skydiving Collision
A 27 year-old professional skier died in a skydiving accident at the Parachute Center on Tuesday afternoon.
Timy Dutton was a sponsored free skier from Squaw Valley, who also engaged in many types of sky diving activities for the last few years.
According to the owner of Parachute Center, Bill Dause, he and a friend jumped off a plane wearing wing suits. This is an advanced sky dive, where jumpers wear a high performance body suit and fall at speeds faster than 100 miles per hour.
The United States Parachute Association requires wing suit jumpers to have at least 200 jumps. Dause said the two were experts, and estimated they each had at least 400-500 jumps under their belts.
“The fellow [Dutton] ran into him, hit his head into his foot, evidently knocked him out, because there was no parachute deployment whatsoever,” Dause said.
Dutton did not have an automatic parachute. His friend suffered a broken leg, but is recovering.
This is not the first fatality at the Parachute Center. The owner estimated there have been around 8 to 10 deaths since 1981. This drop zone is also the same place where an 80 year-old woman had a near-death experience in 2012, when her safety harness loosened in midair.
According to the FAA, the Parachute Center and owner Dause are facing fines totaling almost $1 million, for failing to pass safety compliance and inspections in 2010 and 2011.
However, many loyal sky divers said they never doubt their home drop zone.
“I believe this is one of the safest places to jump in the entire world,” sky diver, Dick Smith said.
“Life goes on, and I understand the concern, but shutting the door down isn’t going to make any better,” Dause said.
Timy Dutton was known as “Timy Backflips” for his acrobatic stunts, both on the slopes and in midair.