Cape Fear Regional Jetport director discusses skydiver accident

Cape Fear Regional Jetport director says skydiver accident was airport’s first fatality

OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) - More than 85,000 skydivers have jumped out of planes since Cape Fear Regional Jetport welcomed Skydive Coastal Carolinas.

According to Jetport Director Howie Franklin, incidents resulting in injuries at the airport are rare.

“In a year, I mean, from sprained ankles to maybe a broken bone or something like that, less than 20," said Franklin.

Sgt. 1st Class Justin Goff died after trying what a 911 call indicates was a low turn. In skydiver vernacular, it means turning too fast and too low to the ground.

“He was too low to the ground and made an extreme turn and when he made an extreme turn, the air came out of his parachute," said Franklin.

A skydive instructor with Skydive Coastal Carolinas said they recommend divers to never attempt a low turn.

Wind has an affect on whether a diver should jump. Franklin said the wind Sunday was an ideal 15 knots, and that the best wind to skydive is 10-15 knots.

Anything over 25 knots is unsafe.

As for Goff, Franklin said inexperience probably didn’t play a role in the accident.

“I don’t know how many jumps, but he was a Green Beret and he was jumping with a single parachute," Franklin said. “That tells me he was pretty experienced.”

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