A day after a skydiver died near the Lodi airport, the owner of the Lodi Parachute Center is defending his business.
“As far as us having contributed to the fatality, other than furnishing a plane ride, that was all we did,” said Bill Dause, who owns the Lodi Parachute Center.
Dause wants people to know his employees did not pack the parachute or maintain any of the gear involved in this accident, except the plane.
Dause said the victim, Ramiro Ramirez Sainz, used his own parachute, adding Sainz was an experienced skydiver.
“He was an experienced jumper made a lot of jumps, most of them here, although he’s jumped a lot of other places,” Dause said.
Dause said Sainz was a photographer for the Red Dog Skydiving Club.
San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputies said Sainz’s parachute malfunctioned, causing him to make a hard landing into a wall just north of the Lodi airport. He did not survive.
“He’s well liked, and everybody feels bad about it, but life goes on,” Dause said.
Dause and many of his instructors are upset with the public’s perception that deaths happen frequently at their drop zone.
Dause admits he does not know how many fatalities there have been over the years.
“Honestly I haven’t kept track of them… The unfortunate numbers, that it’s not important to me. We do everything we can to prevent the next one, and we see why the other ones have happened,” Dause said.
According to FOX40 reports, this is the 14th parachuting death at the Lodi drop zone since Dause opened the center in the early 1980s.
The FAA ruled two of those suicides, with the last death happening in April 2014. Considering his is the busiest skydiving center in California North of Los Angeles, Dause believes the fatality rate is well below average.
“The (United States Parachuting Association) said you can expect to have a malfunction every 2,000 jumps… and we make thousands and thousands of jumps every year with no problem at all,” Dause said.