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Second Skydiving Accident in Hastings Raises Red Flags

Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 29, 2013

HASTINGS, Mich. — Two skydiving accidents since last month — both at the same airport and jumping with the same company — have raised questions about safety.

Skydive Hastings just opened for business four months ago, and in August, Russell Webb was left in a coma after, he says, there was a parachute issue during his skydive with the company.

Now, another accident with Skydive Hastings: a woman hit a tree on Saturday.

Skydive Hastings Owner Tony Gwinn says he still doesn’t know what happened when Webb spiraled to the ground in August. “Parachute was fine, we were talking to him on the radio, ‘Turn left, turn right,’ everything was going fine,” Gwinn said.

“That`s what made it a freak accident. Who knows why things went bad? He just started spinning and we don`t know why.”

FOX 17 asked Gwinn about any negligence on the part of the company. His answer: “Absolutely not.”

Gwinn says the woman who hit a tree Saturday sent him a text that she was out of the hospital and doing better.

“The wind blows and you can`t predict what it`s going to do,” he added.

Webb tells us he went though the full training at Skydive Hastings and, looking back, says it was questionable.  He says he got 100 percent on the written portion of the test.

Gwinn says these accidents in his short time of operating are something you’ll find at any other skydiving establishment.

“We’re throwing a big wad of fabric and lines out in the air and expect them to perform perfectly every time,” he said.

Skydiving experts say two accidents in the short amount of time Skydive Hastings has been operating does raise red flags, but without knowing exactly what happened, they can’t make a determination if there was in fact negligence.