Probe Continues Into Fatal QLD Skydiving Accident
Investigators are expected to spend days working out how a mother and two experienced skydiving instructors plunged to their deaths after an apparent mid-air collision in northern Queensland.
Local mum Kerri Pike, 54, was doing tandem jump with one of the instructors on Friday afternoon when police believe they collided with a solo instructor.
Ms Pike and instructors Peter Dawson, 35, and Toby Turner, 34, all died after plummeting out of control before crashing into the ground.
Their parachutes failed to open properly, with one instructor found in a backyard and the tandem pair in a nearby tree, about 1.5km away from the regular landing zone at Mission Beach.
The jump had reportedly been bought for Ms Pike as a birthday present and several of her children were watching as the jump turned to tragedy.
The Australian Parachute Federation will continue its investigation in the small beachside town on Sunday and will provide a report of its findings to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
The fall was captured on video by one of the instructors and the federation hopes it will provide clues as to what went wrong.
Police were asking onlookers who filmed the accident to forward their footage to help determine what happened.
They have not named the trio, but the instructors have been identified as Mr Dawson and Mr Turner by friends and family on social media.
"All we can say is that our beautiful boy died doing what he loved. Our hearts are broken, but we know that every tear we shed Peter was worth," Liz Dawson wrote on Facebook.
Ms Pike, the wife of a former local councillor, was reportedly a mother of eight children.
"She was a wonderful mother, a beautiful soul and a faithful friend to many," Natalie McEachan wrote on Facebook.
"The world has lost another angel. R.I.P. Kerri. You did all who loved you proud."
Operator Skydive Australia said both instructors were highly experienced with a combined 17,000 jumps between them.
"I'm not in a position to speculate about what happened yesterday afternoon but we will be conducting an internal review to make sure all systems and processes were followed in the correct manner," CEO Anthony Ritter told reporters on Saturday.
"All our sites across the country are independently checked by safety auditors every year and Mission Beach was checked just two months ago and the findings were zero non-compliances."