California authorities are investigating the death of a skydiver who slammed into the ground while attempting an advanced maneuver known as a "swooping.'
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 43-year-old Napa County resident Donald Brown was pronounced dead minutes after he deployed his parachute above Byron Airport on Saturday night.
Friends of Brown's told the newspaper he was an experienced skydiver, but may have misjudged his altitude and therefore had too little room to perform the risky landing move.
"Like any high-adventure sport, there are accidents and there are fatalities involved, and in almost every case it's someone's personal misjudgment or personal negligence," Ray Ferrell, the president of Skydiving in Davis, told the paper. "But things can happen when you're flying at the level that Donny was flying. Everyone's pushing the envelope a little bit."
The US Parachute Association describes swooping, also known as canopy piloting, as a skydiving discipline that involves hurtling down at high speeds and then decelerating by turning horizontally just above the ground.
Contra Costa Sheriff's spokesman jimmy Lee says the accident is regarded as a non-criminal death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report