POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 17, 2011
The death of skydiver Ashley White on July 10 near Mokuleia does not appear to be due to any violations of federal aviation regulations, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The 39-year-old Australia native worked for Skydive Hawaii, and was an experienced skydiver who made more than 12,500 jumps.
"The victim apparently was unable to deploy his parachute because he was knocked out or incapacitated during a collision with another skydiver," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
White's parachute was properly packed by a certified parachute rigger.
The Honolulu Medical Examiner said the death was caused by multiple traumatic injuries due to a fall.
Gregor said skydiving collisions are rare.
White, an instructor with Skydive Hawaii, was on a Sunday morning skydive before work when he jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet.
The midair collision with another skydiver occurred at about 5,000 feet while both were in a free fall.
One skydiver estimated the descent's speed at 180 mph.
After the collision, White fell to his death in an area close to Dillingham Airfield. The other skydiver, who landed safely, had cuts to his face but did not require medical treatment.
A memorial was held Friday at Waimea Bay, with White remembered in a traditional paddle-out ceremony.
At least six people, including White, have died in skydiving accidents on Oahu since 1991.
» Off-duty Navy SEAL Kenneth Richard Owens, 27, of Aiea died when an improperly packed parachute did not deploy on Oct. 12, 2009.
» Master parachutist Erich Mueller, 69, an instructor at Skydive Hawaii, and student Saori Takahashi, 33, of Hokkaido died after their tandem parachute overshot a landing zone at Dillingham Airfield and came down in rough ocean water 300 yards offshore on Jan. 6, 2006.
» Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeremy M. Barrett, 24, of Winfield, Iowa, died on Feb. 6, 2005, after a suspension line wrapped around his main chute and he deployed his reserve chute too late.
» A skydiver was fatally injured when he struck his head on a wing after being pulled out when his reserve chute opened accidentally on July 11, 1991.
Nationally, the rate of parachute fatalities has been decreasing, according to the United States Parachute Association. The association said the fatality rate per 1,000 members has gone to 0.64 in 2010 from 3.65 in 1961.
The average number of fatalities per year totaled 42.5 in 1970-79, compared with 25.8 in 2000-09, the association said.
The association said there were 21 fatalities in the United States in 2010 out of an estimated 3 million jumps.