Auckland skydiver death could have been ‘due to poor flight planning’
Posted On April 6, 2022
The death of an experienced skydiver after a solo landing in Auckland may have occurred due to “poor flight planning and decision-making”, an investigation has found.
John (Jack) Creane, 27, died on March 16, 2019 after skydiving at Parakai in north Auckland.
At the time of his death he had completed more than 260 jumps.
Mr Creane, who was from Ireland but was in New Zealand on a student visa, had been on a 4000-metre Skydive Auckland jump when the incident occurred.
In a coroner’s report released to Stuff this week, an operations manager for Skydive Auckland said she saw Mr Creane hit the ground with his legs, then his head.
An ambulance was called, but he later died in hospital from his injuries.
In the aftermath of the incident, Skydive Auckland investigated and found the accident may have occurred due to “poor flight planning and poor decision-making” on Mr Creane’s part.
Coroner Debra Bell said Mr Creane had been considered a knowledgeable and competent skydiver.
The New Zealand Parachute Industry Association also investigated Mr Creane’s death and watched video taken on a GoPro which showed his descent.
The association said Mr Creane attempted to do an advanced manoeuvre for his level of skill while in conditions that weren’t ideal, including a downwind of 12 to 15 knots.
“It’s possible he was distracted by the proximity of obstacles on the ground which would have exacerbated the problem and potentially delayed him from taking action,” it said.
The Civil Aviation Authority noted Mr Creane didn’t flare his parachute to help slow down for landing before he hit the ground, and he didn’t go into the emergency landing position.
Mr Creane was qualified for the jump, and the authority couldn’t figure out why he decided to carry out high-energy manoeuvres late in his jump, or why he didn’t flare his parachute before hitting the ground.
Coroner Bell found Mr Creane had died due to attempting an advanced manoeuvre in less than ideal conditions and was distracted by obstacles on the ground.
No recommendations were made by Coroner Bell following Mr Creane’s death, but she did note Skydive Auckland and the New Zealand Skydiving School decided to undertake a peer review of the course content surrounding flight planning and decision-making to confirm it was adequate.
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“I urge them to do so, if that has not already been done,” Coroner Bell said.
Skydive Auckland has been back in the headlines recently after British skydiver Sarah-Jane Bayram died during a dive with the company over Muriwai beach.
Ms Bayram and another skydiver collided in midair before she was blown more than one kilometre out to sea.
Skydive Auckland said the peer review of course content had taken place after Mr Creane’s death, but the company did not share any internal processes with anyone.
This article originally appeared in Stuff and has been republished with permission.