Skydiving firm closes temporarily after death of 'close friend and colleague' in parachute incident

South West Industrial Estate, Shotton
South West Industrial Estate, Shotton -Credit:Iain Buist/The Chronicle

SkyHigh Skydiving Peterlee has issued a statement following the death of a "close friend, colleague, and talented member of our team" in a parachute incident over the weekend.

Emergency services raced to South West Industrial Estate in Shotton, near Peterlee, following a "serious incident" on Saturday afternoon. Tragically, a man, who was aged in his 40s, was pronounced dead at the scene.

SkyHigh Skydiving Peterlee has now confirmed the incident involved one of the firm's staff videographers, saying teams were "deeply saddened" by the sudden loss. A statement confirmed that a decision had been taken to close operations until Friday.

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As previously reported, a cordon was erected by authorities following the incident. Police deemed the death as "unexpected" - and maintained the cordon for an extended period of time while investigations were carried out.

Officers, who were initially called to reports of concern for a man's welfare, then asked for witnesses to come forward with any relevant information. D/Chief Inspector Mel Sutherland, leading the investigation, stated: "Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was travelling on the A19 at around 12.20pm to 12.30pm who may have mobile phone footage or dashcam footage which captures the moments leading up to the incident. Our thoughts remain with the man's family at this time."

The British Skydiving Board has confirmed it will conduct a thorough inquiry following the death.

SkyHigh Skydiving Peterlee said: "Following a serious incident on the 27th of April 2024, we have taken the decision to close our operations until Friday, May 3, 2024. The incident involved one of our staff videographers and not one of our one-off charity jumpers.

"We are now assisting British Skydiving and the Police with enquires. We are all deeply saddened by the loss of a close friend, colleague and talented member of our team, our skydiving family. So please bear with us during this difficult time.

"If you have a jump booked, you will be contacted in the next few days by our office team to arrange a new date for you to come in and complete your jump."

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