For the 2019 skydiving fatality report, USPA should include those who perished in the Dillingham accident. If one of the questions the report is answering is, “How prevalent are fatalities in skydiving?” then it is misleading to exclude fatalities resulting from the ride to altitude. Fatalities on the ride to altitude can’t be omitted merely because the jumper isn’t skydiving yet. The flight is an integral and proximate aspect of jumping for nearly all skydives and carries its own risks.
Reducing the fatality rate for 2019 by 11 presents an inaccurate assessment of the fatality risk. It is naive to pretend the airplane accident is unrelated to jumping. If one of your best friends died in Dillingham, could you imagine going to his new widow and trying to tell her that her husband did not die skydiving? It would likely not go over well. Those suggesting, “Then why not include deadly car accidents on the drive to the DZ?” are taking the argument to an absurd level. Let’s present an honest assessment of skydiving’s fatality risk.
Jed Morris | D-21521
Editor’s note: USPA tracks skydiving-related aircraft incidents (both fatal and non-fatal) and compiles an annual report that includes a summary of each incident, as well as the statistics for the year. Parachutist publishes this report in conjunction with its annual fatality summary.