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British tourist dies after ‘free-fall’ during tandem skydiving accident in Arizona


A tourist from the United Kingdom plunged to his death during a tandem skydive near the Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Arizona, police said.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in a press release on Tuesday identified the victim as 55-year-old Christopher Swales. Officers found him unconscious near the airport just before 10 a.m. Sunday alongside his skydiving partner, who suffered a broken leg in the incident.

Swales was enjoying a skydiving package he purchased from Paragon Skydive, which operates out of the Grand Canyon Park Airport, when the fatal fall occurred. Police said it included a “tandem jump” with an experienced skydiver from the company.

“The skydive reportedly had been going as planned until they encountered difficulties when approaching the landing area,” police said.

“These difficulties caused the pair to free-fall for an unknown distance and hit the ground in what was described as a ‘hard landing.’”

When first responders arrived on the scene, they performed lifesaving measures before Swales was rushed to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead by doctors from Flagstaff Medical Center later the same day.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that “there are no indications that the incident is criminal in nature,” and that it is currently under investigation by the National Transportation and Safety Board.