Skydiver Falls to Death on Residential Street in New Jersey

April 8, 2019 Updated: April 8, 2019

A skydiver fell to his death, landing on a residential street in New Jersey.

The unnamed 54-year-old skydiver, who had over 1,000 jumps under his belt, landed on a street in Monroe Township, New Jersey, on April 7, according to local reports.

Horrified residents said that with people outside at the time, it was lucky no one else was hurt.

“I heard a thud, we thought a car hit somebody then I saw this white thing lying there,”  Rosemary Ilgenfritz told WPVI.

Crosskeys Airport is only a few miles away and is a popular destination for skydivers.

The skydiver had jumped out of an airplane with local skydiving company, Skydive Cross Keys, reported NBC.

Officials said that he had deployed his parachute, according to NBC, but that there was an unspecified accident after the deployment that led to the man’s death.

“I thought it was a jet or a rocket, some kind of rocket going over,” Maria Mead, a witness, told CBS3. “Then it passed over the tops of the roofs on Brookdale and over the trees. I saw a shredded red parachute flailing down and I heard an explosion. Then I heard a really loud bang.”

Witnesses told WPVI that the body, on Brookdale Boulevard, appeared to have a white parachute over it, but that police believed that was the backup parachute.

#BREAKING: A person has died after a reported skydiving mishap in Monroe Township, New Jersey.

Posted by 6abc Action News on Sunday, April 7, 2019

According to the Courier Post, five years ago a 49-year-old man died when he crash-landed in a Monroe Township backyard during a group skydiving outing.

According to the United States Parachute Association (USPA), skydiving deaths are very rare, considering the number of jumps carried out.

“A person is much more likely to be killed getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee,” notes the USPA website, citing statistics from the National Safety Council.

“In 2018, USPA recorded 13 fatal skydiving accidents in the U.S. out of roughly 3.3 million jumps—the lowest number in the sport’s history! That’s one fatality per 253,669 jumps! Tandem skydiving has an even better safety record, with one student fatality per 500,000 tandem jumps over the past decade.”

However, it appears that 2018 was an exceptional year. Records for the last decade suggest an average of around 20 deaths per year.

“Skydiving involves inherent risks, but most skydiving accidents result from human error,” according to the USPA. “With proper preparation and good judgment, skydivers can minimize those risks.”

With regular parachuting becoming more of a norm, thrill-seekers have turned to more extreme incarnations of the sport, such as base-jumping or wing-suits to get their adrenaline fix.

Base-jumping, which involves jumping off cliffs, bridges, and even buildings parachute at the ready, is one of the most lethal of all extreme sports.

Nearly one Base jump in every 2,000 is fatal, according to Norwegian research in 2007, and one in every 250 results in an accident.

According to National Geographic, fatalities from Base jumping were steady for a couple of decades—until the advent of wingsuits.

In recent years there have been several high-profile deaths within the tiny off-shoot of the parachuting world that uses nylon suits to allow the jumper to glide through the air.

Dramatic videos, often with millions of views on social media, show people in wingsuits flying down canyons, valleys, and even through rock formations. However, these videos may be even more dangerous to make than first appears, because they are often not a one-off act of daring. They are frequently shot several times to get the perfect angles and to ensure they are flying close enough to the ground.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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