British tourist plunges 13,000ft to his death after going into shock during parachute jump
By Tom Worden
Tragic: Richard Taylor was on a break in Spain with friends (file picture)
A British parachutist plunged 13,000ft to his death yesterday after he apparently went into a state of shock during freefall.
Police said Richard Taylor, 34, fell 'like a lead weight' after he did not open his parachute.
His automatic emergency chute failed to deploy when a line became caught on his arm.
He was on a beginners' course in Spain with four British friends when he died on his fifth jump.
The accident happened at the Airelibre school in Ocana, central Spain, at around 2pm.
Spokesman David Coleman said: 'We are devastated by this tragic accident.
'He was on his fifth jump and had previously done absolutely everything right, showing great control and altitude awareness.
'He had been in freefall for about a minute when he curled up into a ball, probably as a result of going into shock.
The instructor tried to catch him, but when someone is curled up that is impossible.
'The instructor gave hand signals telling him to open his chute, but he did not respond.'
'Eventually the instructor had to open his own parachute.
'Then the student´s automatic activation device attempted to open the emergency parachute.
'But because of the student´s position curled up in a ball, a line got caught on his arm and could not open properly.'
Mr Taylor is the second Briton to die at the school.
Last August, Andrew Bearne, 39, from Guildford, Surrey, crash-landed on his first solo skydive.
And three years ago mother-of-four Anna Endicott, 31, from Thornby, Gloucestershire, died when she collided with her instructor in the same part of Spain.
Houdi de la Fuente, commercial director of Airelibre, said: 'This is incredibly sad, he was a young man who was full of life and dreams and excitement.
'For him to have his life cut short like this is absolutely tragic.'
A police source said that the victim had 'fallen like a lead weight' to the ground, just 300m from the airstrip where the plane had taken off.
The mayor of Ocana Josi Carlos Martmnez Osteso said police had established that neither parachute had opened.
A doctor at the aerodrome raced to the scene but the student was already dead.
Click to view image: '05edbb3f5d1e-hummerpet.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|