Two Icelandic men were found dead on Saturday in the woods in Zephyrhills, Florida, after a dive that went awry. Investigation continues as the owner of the skydiving facility says that their equipment was functioning correctly.
The sheriff’s office identified the victims as 41-year-old Örvar Arnarson and 25-year-old Andri Már Þórðarson. The former was an experienced skydiving instructor with thousands of jumps behind him while the latter had already performed several successful dives. Both men were single and childless.
The investigation has so far revealed that neither men had deployed their main parachutes, while the secondary automatic parachutes did not deploy on time, for reasons which have yet to be determined. It appears that while the automatic parachutes did indeed deploy, they did not have the time to fully inflate before the men’s impact with the ground.
An accident involving two separate jumpers on a dive – as opposed to tandem jumpers – is extremely rare, say experts. Parachute accidents remain infrequent, with 19 deaths last year in the United States, out of more than 3 million jumps. Skydive City, the Floridan facility from which the two Icelandic men jumped, has seen less than a dozen deaths in its 20-year history, out of some 75,000 jumps a year.