Mid-air video footage taken by one of the three skydivers who died in far north Queensland last Friday has been inconclusive in determining the cause of the tragedy, police have confirmed.
The vision from a camera worn by tandem skydive instructor Peter Dawson was analysed by police, but the camera shut off at the point the skydivers collided in mid-air.
Mr Dawson, along with fellow instructor Toby Turner and mother-of-eight Kerri Pike all lost their lives in the accident at Mission Beach.
Sergeant Scott Ezard on Monday confirmed that the bodies of the three victims had been taken to Cairns and were undergoing forensic examination.
“Those processes are currently underway and they will conclude hopefully tomorrow,” he said.
“Investigations indicate at this stage that the mid-air collision has resulted in fairly significant injuries to both parties involved.”
“As the parachuters have continued to descend the parachutes have deployed and both parties have landed under either a fully or partially deployed parachute.”
Expert to analyse parachutes
Police have brought in an expert packing rigger who will analyse the equipment involved in the accident.
“That examination will be looking to determine whether the parachutes were packed, and whether the parachutes were of the right size for the actual package in which they’re required to fit into,” Sergeant Ezard said.
“The purpose of that is to determine whether there may have been a failed deployment or a false deployment.”
The expert would also be examining data from an onboard computer on the tandem parachute.
Sergeant Ezard said it would be several months before investigators determined the cause of the incident.
“Anyone who hasn’t come forward who observed this occurring, or anyone who might have any footage that hasn’t approached police and provided their information would be greatly welcomed,” he said.
‘It’s a dangerous activity’
Brad Turner from the Australian Parachute Federation said information from the investigation would be used to improve the safety of skydivers.
“At the end of the day, people have got to remember that we’re jumping out of planes in this sport,” he said.
“It’s a dangerous activity and we don’t hide that fact.
“All the rules and regulations do not stop accidents as with any other activity you do in life … it comes down to the people involved and making the right choices, and sometimes you’ve only got split seconds to make that choice.”
All skydiving at Mission Beach has been suspended indefinitely.