December 10, 2009

AUSTRALIA: Man dies on skydive to celebrate 70th birthday

. BRISBANE, Queensland / Courier-Mail / Breaking News / December 10, 2009 By Greg Stolz and AAP A MAN celebrating his 70th birthday with a parachute jump died from a suspected heart attack as he leapt from the plane on the Gold Coast. The man was doing a tandem jump from 10,000 feet with Gold Coast Sky Dives when he died about 10.15am. It is understood the shock of leaping from the plane caused the heart attack. North Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast. Photo: Courier-Mail He landed at North Kirra Beach with his family watching on. His buddy jumper and lifeguards tried to revive him but he was pronounced dead at the scene. It was the 70-year-old man's first skydive and he had not recorded any medical conditions with the company. Emergency Services declined to confirm reports the man suffered a heart attack in the dive. Australian Parachute Federation (APF) safety director Paul Osborne told AAP staff at Gold Coast Skydive handled the situation very professionally. Mr Osborne said the staff, who were now receiving counselling, were trained on a regular basis. "But nothing could ever prepare you totally," Mr Osborne said. APF is preparing a report on the incident. "We look into things from the start of the jump, from when the booking was made, right through the jump, to see if we can learn anything to prevent this happening again," Mr Osborne said. "In this case it looks to be fairly straightforward." Police are preparing a report for the coroner. Gold Coast City Council chief lifeguard Warren Young, who saw the jump, said the incident was devastating. "The saddest thing is for the man's family," Mr Young said. He said the beach was almost empty at the time of the incident. Gold Coast Skydive, which declined to directly comment on the matter, has suspended jumps out of respect for the man's family. [rc] © 2009 Queensland Newspapers.