BARDSTOWN, Ky. – Two skydivers collided about 200 feet above the ground and their parachutes deflated, causing the divers to plummet, authorities said. One later died.
John Kevin Benningfield, 33, was pronounced dead at Flaget Memorial Hospital, Nelson County Coroner Joseph Greenwell said Sunday.
The other skydiver, Chris Snellen, was flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Louisville, where he was in fair condition on Monday, hospital officials said.
Snellen, an instructor at the Greene County Sport Parachute Center, broke his leg, according to the center's owners.
The collision happened at sunset Saturday, the center's last jump of the day, said Kenn Heismann, one of its owners.
Because the skydivers were so close to the ground, there was no time for the parachutes to reinflate and bring the men down safely, Heismann said. Snellen's fall was braced by a tree, he said.
"Both of them had hundreds and hundreds of jumps," Heismann said, calling both men "very competent jumpers."
Benningfield's sister, Andrea Wilcher, said her brother loved skydiving and would parachute on weekends and his days off from work. He had made more than 1,000 jumps since 1997, Wilcher said.
In another accident on Saturday, a first-time skydiver slipped from her harness during a jump near Sterling, Ohio, and fell to her death, authorities said.
A preliminary investigation indicated Ellen Ann McWilliams, 44, of West Chester, Pa., slipped from the harness after the parachute opened. A first-time skydiver, McWilliams was participating in a tandem jump.