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Ontario skydiver's death occured during "swooping" landing manoeuvre

GEORGINA, Ont. - The president of a parachuting school north of Toronto says the death of a skydiver on Saturday was due to a trick landing gone wrong.

The 39-year-old man was "swooping," a term used to describe a high-speed landing manoeuvre that involves "swooping over the landing area, just skimming across the grass in the landing area," said Adam Mabee, president of the Parachute School of Toronto in Georgina, Ont.

This is done at approximately 80 km/h, said Mabee.

The Bradford, Ont., resident had done this manoeuvre hundreds of times in the past, said Mabee, mostly at other drop zones in the province. Swooping is popular among experienced and "very experienced" skydivers, he said.

"The more experienced skydivers are responsible for themselves and tend to push their limits a little bit and try more difficult manoeuvres," said Nancy Koreen, director of sport promotion at the United States Parachute Association. "It's like anything else that you do — you want to keep getting better and trying new things."

York Regional Police said Monday that a post mortem concluded that the cause of death was trauma resulting from the impact of the fall.

"At this time there is no evidence to suggest that any criminal offence has taken place," investigators said.

Police also said they would not release the man's name.

There have been two other fatal jumps connected to the school in the past year.

In May, Alana Shamrock, 28, died after experiencing equipment failure, and last year Igor Zaitsev, 42, was killed after losing control of his parachute.

Mabee said the company has looked closely at the three accidents and no common cause has been found.

So far, this recent death does not indicate that anything new could be done to prevent these kinds of accidents, said Mabee.

"There are certainly considerations that we all understood long ago, and none of those have changed particularly," he said. "Skydivers understand that there are risks in the sport."

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