73-year-old Arizona man dies after parachute fails to fully deploy during skydiving jump

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A 73-year-old Arizona man died Wednesday while skydiving with his friends after his parachute failed to fully deploy, local authorities said. 

Terry Gardner, of Casa Grande, was on his third jump of the day with three friends and fellow skydivers around 12 p.m. local time when the incident happened, the Eloy Police Department said in a statement.

He and his group had planned a formation jump from an altitude of 14,000 feet but were unable to complete that formation (though police don’t believe this contributed to Gardner’s accident). 

While other sky divers were able to land safely and without incident, when Gardner’s parachute deployed, “unexpected complications arose” that resulted in a “hard landing without a fully deployed parachute,” police said.

After landing, Eloy Fire District personnel responded and administered life-saving measures. Gardner was hospitalized, but he succumbed to his injuries.

“At this time, it remains uncertain if there were any issues with the parachute,” Eloy police said, noting the Federal Aviation Administration will inspect the parachute and determine a cause of the complications. 

The investigation is ongoing. 

“Our thoughts and condolences are with all those who knew and loved Terry Gardner during this challenging time,” police said.

A similar tragedy unfolded last month in Colorado, when a 36-year-old man wearing a wing suit died while skydiving after his parachutes failed to deploy. 

“Early information indicated that it appeared his primary and/or reserve chute were not deployed before striking the ground,” Public Safety spokesperson Robin Ericson said on the Jan. 27 incident.

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