A former Marine died Saturday in a tragic and still-unexplained parachuting accident in North Carolina, WRAL reports. James Stremmel was diving for the second or third time that day when his parachute apparently gave him trouble: "He was setting up his parachute; he was setting up for landing and had a problem with the parachute," says Gregory Upper, who owns the Triangle Skydiving Center in Louisburg, NC. "We don't know anything at that point, and he had a hard landing." Stremmel is described as a skilled skydiver with more than 1,800 jumps under his belt. He also taught at the Center, notes ABC 11, and lived in Raleigh with his girlfriend.
"James was a friend of mine," Upper tells WNCN. "He was ... it’s unfortunate [and] that’s all I can say at this point." Stremmel's sister Megan says his death was "not at all expected. The family is holding up as best as possible. He was a great guy." The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is investigating, and the FAA has been notified. See a tweet with a photo of Stremmel taken right before his fatal jump. (Read more skydiving stories.)