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73-year-old man dies in skydiving accident in Arizona

The experienced skydiver had previously executed thousands of jumps. His parachute failed to fully deploy in the incident.
Skydive center in Arizona
Posted at 11:11 AM, Feb 06, 2024

A 73-year-old man has died following a skydiving accident in Arizona.

The Eloy Police Department said Terry Gardner and three friends were embarking on their third jump of the day around noon on. Jan. 31 when the incident occurred. The group was attempting a formation jump from 14,000 feet.

Though the group didn't achieve the intended formation, that is not believed to have contributed to the accident, police said. 

The three other friends landed without incident, but Gardner’s parachute failed to fully deploy.

“Unfortunately, Terry's parachute deployed, but unexpected complications arose, resulting in a hard landing without a fully deployed parachute,” Eloy police said in a press release

Eloy Fire personnel quickly performed life-saving measures at the scene and transported Gardner to Banner Casa Grande Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Skydive Arizona, where the incident occurred, called Gardner "a highly experienced skydiver with several thousands of jumps,” in a statement obtained by Scripps News Phoenix. The company said the skydiver was jumping with his own equipment and did not deploy his reserve parachute.

Police said it is not known if there were any issues with the parachute and that the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the complications, which includes inspecting his parachute.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with all those who knew and loved Terry Gardner during this challenging time,” Eloy police said. 

The incident comes weeks after four people were killed in a hot air balloon crash in Eloy.

4 dead, 1 critically hurt after a hot air balloon crash near Phoenix
Officials investigating the crash scene.

4 dead, 1 critically hurt after a hot air balloon crash near Phoenix

Officials say the balloon crashed after an "unspecified problem" with its envelope. 13 people had been in the balloon.