Skydive Australia has suspended its operations at Mission Beach in far north Queensland pending a full inquiry into Friday afternoon’s triple fatality.
Kerri Pike, 54, and instructors Peter Dawson, 35 and Toby Turner, 34, died after what authorities said was believed to have been a mid-air collision between tandem and single skydivers at Mission Beach.
A resident said they fell onto the lawn of a private property.
It is understood the jump was a family birthday gift to Ms Pike, a mother of eight married a former councillor for the region.
The Cairns Post is reporting Mrs Pike is the wife of former Cassowary Coast Regional Councillor Alister Pike, who also runs a charter fishing business in town.
Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos said he was in the process of contacting the families of the victims, and that those he had spoken with were “absolutely gutted”.
“It’s still very, very raw emotion at the moment,” he said.
“It’s a terrible tragedy and we respect their privacy now and we’ll leave them to grieve.”
Will miss this legend like there is no tomorrow. Acromanic Dawson you leave doing your chosen love in life, now soaring…
He said he and the deputy mayor would be out in the community today to offer their support.
“We will do whatever is needed and whatever we can. There’s counselling services we can offer,” he said.
Dutch tourist had booked a skydive
Dutch tourist Ayrin Vandal had booked to skydive today and said she only heard the news when she arrived this morning.
“It’s awful — you cannot imagine this — it’s why you haven’t got any words for it,” she said.
Tributes have been posted on social media and flowers have been placed outside the Skydive Australia shop with a note that read: “Dawson — spread your wings and fly on forever”.
Sad news to find out a true spoken man has left this world today to follow a different path. But may his knowledge keep…
Witnesses find ‘horrific scene’
Senior Sergeant Peter Williamson said witnesses were confronted with a horrific scene.
“They’ve been assisting police — naturally they’re in a state of shock,” he said.
“It’s something that you wouldn’t want to happen anywhere.
“Mission Beach, it will be a huge loss to the community — skydiving is one the biggest tourism ventures around here so it’ll be hard done by for the local community.”
A number of specialist units worked through the night, preparing a report for the coroner.