Second skydiver dead after collision

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 28 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Michael Vaughan had performed 11,000 jumps before Friday's tragedy. Source: Facebook

TWO skydivers are now dead following the horrific midair accident at Byron Bay on Friday.

Alana Clarke, 29, died at the scene and experienced jumper Michael Vaughan, aged in his 40s, died in hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The pair collided midair after jumping from 4000 feet on Friday afternoon before plummeting to the ground. Ms Clarke died at the scene and Mr Vaughan was rushed to Gold Coast University Hospital.

The renowned instructor who had jumped more than 11,000 times underwent multiple surgeries but could not be saved.

Alana Clarke from Byron Bay died on Friday. Source: Facebook

Friends of Mr Vaughan's Facebook page posted their sorrow at his passing.

"You lived life to the fullest," Benjamin Sewell said.

"Thank you for your knowledge you so freely gave," said John Rynbout.

Investigators from the Australian Parachute Foundation (APF) believe Mr Vaughan and Ms Clarke collided during a dive that required them to fly close together.

The trouble appears to have started below 3000 feet after the parachutes opened, they said.

APF safety and training manager Richard McCooey says there is usually a procedure to use a reserve parachute in the event of a midair tangle.

Facebook images of Alana Clarke from Byron Bay. Source: Facebook

Parachuting students had been on a week-long course taking off from Tyagarah airstrip — often used by experienced skydivers and a skydiving company taking tourists for parachute drops.

The "canopy course" was hosted by Mr Vaughan, who has starred in TV advertisements and has made more than 10,000 jumps.

An average of two people a year are killed in Australia in skydiving and parachuting activities.

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