Skydiver falls to his death due to parachute malfunction at Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon

June 16, 2013 5:18:10 PM PDT
A skydiver plummeted to his death this weekend after jumping out of a plane at Skydive Spaceland. A day after the tragedy, no one was sure exactly why it happened.

The victim has been identified as 36-year-old Miguel Carrasco. He was reportedly a licensed skydiver making solo jumps with a group, skydiving in formations, when he experienced a parachute malfunction on his fourth trip down, around 3:30pm Saturday.

Skydive Spaceland was open for business Sunday, and Operations Manager Jason Hyder spoke to us about the accident in the air that cost a skydiver his life.

"He was well-loved, and everybody on the drop-zone liked him and enjoyed making skydives with him," Hyder said.

Witnesses told management at Skydive Spaceland that Carrasco cut away from his main parachute at about 1,000 feet, and then failed to deploy his backup chute.

"We can only speculate that he was probably trying to get stable instead of just operating the parachute," Hyder said.

Managers at Skydive Spaceland said 80 percent of experienced jumpers use a parachute that has an automatic fail-safe which opens a secondary chute. Carrasco, an experienced jumper, opted not to use one of those chutes, and a secondary chute did not open automatically.

"He didn't have any of those optional devices that we're aware of," Hyder said. "And if he'd had them, it's possible it would have had a different outcome."

Experienced jumpers feel for Carrasco's family, but say his accident shouldn't keep people from enjoying skydiving.

"We're certainly very remorseful about the whole experience," skydiver Braden Smith said. "We try to look at as many aspects of what happened and what the emergency was. Try to learn from it as much as possible."

Skydive Spaceland extends condolences to Carrasco's friends and family and mentioned that a remembrance event will be held at their facility in the near future.

"We send our condolences to them," Hyder said. "It's very sad. Skydivers are a very tight family."

This isn't the first time a skydiver has been killed at Skydive Spaceland. Four jumpers have died at the facility in the last few years. The most recent accident was two years ago in March. That's when two skydivers were killed when their chutes got tangled during a jump.

Before that, in March 2008, a student skydiver was killed when his chute didn't work properly.

And just four months earlier in November 2007, a skydiver was killed when his parachute didn't open.

Please stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for continuing coverage on this deadly skydiving accident.

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