Veteran Alberta parachutist dies after fall

A parachutist has died at Eden North, a skydiving site north of Stony Plain, Alta.

RCMP investigating accident at skydiving site near Stony Plain, Alta.

Friends and family remember Edmonton-area skydiving instructor who died in a jump Saturday, reports Laura Osman 1:20

A parachuting instructor has died after a jump at Eden North, a skydiving site north of Stony Plain, Alta.

John Scott was an instructor at the Eden North Parachute School.

RCMP were called to Eden North around 7:30 p.m. Saturday when it was reported that John Scott, an instructor at the parachute school, had been found unresponsive on the ground following a jump.

Paramedics resuscitated Scott at the scene before taking him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It was unclear whether Scott's chute was working properly, because there were a number of jumps happening at the same time, said RCMP Cpl. Colette Zazulak on Sunday.

"Everything was good, parachute opened great. He was doing the John thing — he flies a very small, fast parachute — and he just missed on the bottom end," said Eden North owner Lyal Waddell on Sunday.

Zazulak said that the RCMP are still investigating the cause of Scott’s death and have seized his equipment to determine whether there was any sort of malfunction. They are also speaking to witnesses.

"Nothing appears suspicious at this time," she said. "However, we do want to find out what happened. With any sudden, unexplained death we need to totally rule out that there might be anything suspicious at play."

An autopsy is expected to be performed later this week.

"He was a very experienced diver, so they’re not sure what led to this," said Zazulak.

Retired from military

Scott, 49, had completed more than 9,000 jumps all over the world, said Waddell, adding that Scott was also a former captain of the Canadian military SkyHawks demonstration team.

He came to work at Eden North after retiring from the military, working as an instructor, tandem flier and tandem team instructor.

Waddell said that Scott had already completed three tandem jumps earlier in the day before going for one more jump on his own.

He said Scott’s death will leave "a pretty big hole, because he did so much."

"He was very active, energetic, hard-nosed, well researched, knew his stuff and was just a fun guy, too," said Waddell.

"So many people are calling up and saying, ‘We miss him already.' It’s just a real sad time for all our people."

This was Eden North’s first open weekend of the summer.

Its last death was an instructor who was killed in a jump in 1996.

"We take care of our [students], but forget we are mortal, I guess," said Waddell.