Ottawa

Instructor, client killed in Gatineau skydiving accident

Gatineau police say the two men who died in the skydiving accident were in their 20s and 30s.

Emergency parachute appears to have malfunctioned, say investigators

Gatineau Police Service patrol cars are parked near the scene of a skydiving accident near the city's airport on Saturday. Two men died in the accident, say police. (Marielle Guimond/Radio-Canada)

The two men who died in a skydiving accident over the weekend near Gatineau, Que., have been identified as an instructor and his client.

One of the men was in his 20s and the other in his 30s, Gatineau police wrote in an email Monday. Their names have not been released.

On Saturday afternoon, first responders rushed to an agricultural area north of the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport. The two men were declared dead at the scene.

Officials with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), which is responsible for workplace safety in Quebec, are investigating.

The victims were part of a parachute jump organized by Parachute GO Skydive, based at the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport.

Emergency parachute malfunctioned: investigators

According to CNESST's preliminary investigation, the main parachute was detached to allow the emergency parachute to open, but it appears it never did.

Both parachutes were sent to the Canadian Armed Forces for analysis.The CNESST investigation could take up to six months to complete.

This is not the first tragedy to occur through the same skydiving school.

In July 2015, a 22-year-old instructor Carolyne Breton and a 45-year-old customer strapped to her were seriously injured when they were sent spiraling toward the ground using a reserve parachute. Breton broke her legs and the client almost died. 

In that incident, workplace safety investigators found the instructor had deployed the main parachute and let it go, triggering the reserve parachute to deploy automatically. But the reserve parachute became entangled, sending the pair into a faster-than-normal spinning descent.

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