James Anthony McConnell
A Scottish skydiver was killed after a jump from almost three kilometres height went wrong, Khaosod English reported on Thursday.
The 69-year-old man, who police later identified as James Anthony McConnell, plunged to his death from a plane belonging to Thai Sky Adventures, a company that was involved in more than two fatal accidents in recent years.
Pol Col Chonnapat Nawalak of Nong Kham Provincial Police Station in Chon Buri province confirmed the fatal incident to Khaosod English on Thursday afternoon. “We’re still verifying the cause of his death. He jumped from the plane and crash-landed in the water, so we have to check whether he died of the impact or drowned.”
Reached for comment at about 15:00, Harry Harrison, the British owner of Thai Sky Adventures, said told Khaosod English that he was unaware of the incident. “No comment, bye!” he said before terminating the call.
Thai Sky Adventures’ airstrip in the Si Racha district of Chon Buri province is located next to a large water reservoir. In October, Russian skydiving instructor Viacheslav Topychkanov working for the company fell to his death. In 2015, it grabbed headlines worldwide when a video emerged showing one of its planes diving toward a pair of tandem skydivers, snipping their parachute and narrowly avoiding tragedy.
According to the company’s website, a tandem jump costs 10,950 baht. It states that tandem skydives involve a freefall jump “attached to a highly experienced skydiving instructor” from an altitude typically between “9,000 to 13,500 feet”, or 2,700 to 4,100 metres.
Four days after the fatal fall, Khaosod English reported that police are still investigating the accident but have not to a conclusion yet. Thai Sky Adventures officially denies this while maintaining that the man had died of a heart attack.
“As of this time, we are still waiting for the autopsy result,” police said. “The witness, the person who was skydiving with him, said he lost consciousness and fell into the reservoir.”
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- May 8, 2017: "Police say investigation of "Thai Sky Adventures" still active" (khaosodenglish.com)