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British Tourist Dies in Grand Canyon Skydiving Accident

Pair 'encountered difficulties' during tandem jump
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2019 12:07 AM CDT
Tourists hike along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Rick Hossman, File)
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(Newser) – Another Grand Canyon tragedy: Authorities say a British tourist died in a skydiving accident near the canyon Sunday morning. Police say 55-year-old Christopher Swales was fatally injured after he and his skydiving partner, an instructor at a local skydiving center, "encountered difficulties" during a tandem jump, the BBC reports. The problem occurred as they approached their landing area near Grand Canyon Airport, police say. "These difficulties caused the pair to free fall for an unknown distance and hit the ground in what was described as a 'hard landing,'" the Coconino County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The skydiving instructor broke his leg in the accident, authorities say. Police say there was no sign of foul play. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident. "The FAA's skydiving accident investigations typically look at whether the parachutes were properly packed by the appropriate people and, when it occurs during a tandem jump, whether the instructor had the required experience and credentials," spokesman Ian Gregor tells the Arizona Republic. The FAA designed the descent route after the company involved, Paragon Skydiving, opened the first skydiving operation in the area in 2016, Williams News reports. (Read more Grand Canyon stories.)

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