New York State Police (NYSP) is investigating a suspected parachute accident that killed a Florida woman on July 24.
Wildwood resident Karen Bernard died while skydiving in upstate New York. The 59-year-old had leapt out of a plane near Westford, about 64 miles west of Albany.
Investigators are treating her death as an accident.
“On July 24, 2021 shortly after 9:00 a.m. NYSP responded to a report of a fatal skydiving incident in the area of County Highway 34 in the town of Westford,” NYSP said in a statement. “A preliminary investigation revealed that a Karen Bernard … jumped out of a plane to skydive when it appears she had a malfunction with her parachute.”
Terry, the deceased’s brother, revealed her loved ones are in shock. They are now trying to understand exactly how the tragedy unfolded.
“It is with a sad heart that I need to notify you, her family and friends that Karen passed away Saturday July 24th in a skydiving related accident,” he said on Facebook. “She was doing the things she loved to do.”
The family still had not planned a funeral ceremony at the time of publication.
“At this time there are no services planned,” Terry said. “Please refrain from asking any questions at this time because we do not have any answers, and we are not monitoring her page.”
“We are all pretty numb and in disbelief,” he added.
In a different accident, a pair of skydivers almost died when their parachute lines twisted mid-flight above Fano, Italy.
They recorded the terrifying moment on their headcams when the lines intertwined on July 11. Toms Vajeika, 30, was sent hurtling to the ground.
Fortunately, Vajeika–a marine engineer and skilled skydiver from Latvia–untangled the lines in time.
“I have been skydiving since 2019 and have made around 250 jumps since,” he said according to the New York Post. “The main thing I was thinking at the time was what the lowest altitude I can be, before I am forced to cut away from the main canopy and deploy the reserve.”