UK & World News

  • 5 December 2013, 9:48

British Skydiver Killed During Record Attempt

A "highly experienced" British skydiver has been named as one of two men who died after a mid-air collision during a record parachute jump attempt in Arizona.

Keiron O'Rourke, 40, and German Bernd Schmehl, 51, were taking part in the event involving around 200 other skydivers.

Their parachute canopies collapsed when they collided less than 300ft (91 metres) from the ground.

Mr Schmehl died at the scene, while Mr O'Rourke was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital after the accident at the Skydive Arizona event.

Another jumper was injured in an incident unrelated to the mid-air collision.

"There were early reports that the mid-air collision involved three skydivers," said a police statement.

"Investigators have determined there was a third skydiver injured. However, the injury was not related to or caused by the mid-air collision between the other two skydivers."

Skydive Arizona released a statement calling the two dead men "highly experienced skydivers" and said they were participating in an "invitational 200-skydiver record attempt".

The other injured skydiver had "a hard landing and suffered a back injury", it said.

"There were no problems related to aircraft or equipment. Weather conditions were good and the accidents occurred on the fifth group jump of the day."

Mr Schmehl had made more than 1,700 jumps including 80 in the last six months, while Mr O'Rourke had jumped nearly 850 times, including 100 in the last six months, according to police officials.

Skydive Arizona is a training facility that operates out of the Eloy Municipal Airport, about 60 miles (100km) south of Phoenix.