A 62-year-old skydiver plummeted to his death over a residential neighborhood in Lake Elsinore, Southern California on Saturday. He was found in the backyard of a home and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch, police authorities say the accident happened after several skydivers attempted a group maneuver and one of them got his parachute tangled in the process and was unable to free himself.
The skydiver, identified as Ken Oka, 62, of Mira Loma, died from grievous injuries after he fell into a Lakeland village backyard. According to the Riverside County coroner's office, he was pronounced dead 30 minutes after he fell to earth. The other skydivers in his team landed safely.
Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch reports that Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman, Jody Hagemann, said firefighters responded to a call from the 19400 block of Sweetwood Lane near Grand Avenue, around 3 p.m.
According to UT San Diego, although preliminary investigations suggest it was an accident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an independent investigation.
Lake Elsinore-Wildomar Patch reports that Alma Lopez, a resident of the Lakeland Village, witnessed the incident. She said there was commotion in the neighborhood after the man fell to the ground. Five or six skydivers landed in the area, one on top of Lopez's rooftop and another in her front yard. She said the man who landed in her front yard "was hysterical. He wanted to see his friend."
Lopez said she drove the man to Sweetwood Lane where they found the victim in the backyard of a residence. CPR was administered before he was transported to a hospital in an ambulance. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirmed that Oka was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Lake Elsinor-Wildomar Patch reports this is not the first time that Oka has experienced a mishap while skydiving. The Los Angeles Times reported in 2004 that he and a fellow diver had to share Oka's parachute after a mid-air incident. He reportedly told the LA Times: "Well, we didn't walk away, but we survived."
This is not the first skydiving accident this year. Digital Journal reported that Gerardo Flores fell 13,000 ft to the ground when his parachute opened unexpectedly after a jump. He said: "It just exploded. It just it yanked me to the side. Something went wrong. One hundred things go through your mind. You are never suppose to open above 6,000 feet."
But Flores was lucky. He survived although he was knocked unconscious for two weeks, sustained several broken ribs and a lacerated tongue.