A man who was about to do a skydiving demonstration at the Pomegranate Festival in Madera fell to his death Saturday when his parachute got tangled as he tried to deploy it, Madera police Sgt. Felix Gonzalez said.
The man was 65 years old, Gonzalez said. He said the man fell to the ground and died on impact. The skydiver had not yet been identified.
The incident occurred around 3 p.m. at the festival, which was held at the airport.
Linda Carbon of Fresno was a vendor who saw the man jump out of the plane, and then saw him fall and land in a parking lot about 200 feet away from her.
The man’s chute was tangled as soon as he leaped out of the aircraft, Carbon said. As he was falling, wind blew him across the sky and he landed in the parking area, she said.
Some bystanders nearby heard the man strike the ground, Carbon said.
Gonzalez said the skydiver’s primary chute became tangled as soon as he jumped out of the airplane. He tried to cut it free, then pulled his back-up chute, but it would not deploy properly either, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said there “were quite a few” people at the festival who saw the man fall to his death. A festival official said the crowd estimate was 5,000, the largest the event has drawn.
Joining Madera police investigating the mishap will be the Federal Aviation Administration.