Sky dive organisation to prepare report into woman's tragic fall

Specialist investigators expect a report into the death of a woman in a sky dive tragedy to be complete within four weeks.
Peterlee Parachute Centre in Shotton.Peterlee Parachute Centre in Shotton.
Peterlee Parachute Centre in Shotton.

The British Parachute Association (BPA) has said it assembling a board to probe the circumstances of Saturday’s incident, which claimed the life of Hebburn woman Pamela Gower.

The 49-year-old Remploy worker had taken a jump from Shotton Airfield in Shotton Colliery and hit a parked car Weldon Close in the village at 3.45pm.

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Residents tried to save her, but she was later declared dead at hospital after she was airlifted by the Great North Air Ambulance.

Durham Constabulary has said Miss Gower was using her own equipment and was making her first sky dive in the UK, after making jumps abroad.

Officers are working with the Heath and Safety Executive and the BPA to establish what happened.

The force had previously stated that Miss Gower died after her parachute failed to open. But while the circumstances regarding the incident will form part of a joint investigation between the police and the British Parachute Association on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority, it had now established that the reserve parachute did deploy.

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Ian Rosenvinge, who runs the Skydive Academy at Peterlee Parachute Centre, said although Miss Gower had done several jumps, both at the centre and abroad, she would still be classed as a inexperienced jumper.

The BPA has said once the board has been put together, it will carry out its inquiries on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The completed report will then be sent to the coroner and its safety own safety and training committee.

A brief version of the document will be available to view online via its website.

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Miss Gower described herself as a “crazy trainee skydiver” and posted a series of photos on her Facebook page as she took part in the sport.

She worked as an employment adviser for Reploy, which provides employment placements for disabled people, at its Newcastle branch.

Bosses have said: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Pam’s tragic accident.”

Among the tributes left to Pamela include one which said: “How tragic, even though Pamela was doing what she loved to do, thoughts to Pamela’s family and loved ones.”

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The coroner has been informed of Miss Gower’s death and a post mortem examination is due to be carried out.