Despite the fact that, statistically, skydiving is considered one of the safer extreme sports, there is still a risk of death. Some of the most common causes of skydiving fatalities are issues with a person’s landing or malfunctions with the skydiving equipment. Fatalities can also be caused by collisions between skydivers or as the result of a skydiver not deploying his or her parachute.
Landing improperly, whether due to an error by the skydiver, running into something on the ground, or turbulence, is typically the most common cause of skydiving fatalities. While most divers are taught how to land safely, this is not always possible for any number of reasons, and an improper landing can result in too-hard of an impact with the ground. It is also relatively common for turbulence to cause a skydiver to hit the ground too hard, resulting in death.
Skydiving equipment has a fair amount of safeguards built into it, including a main canopy and a reserve canopy in the event that the main does not deploy properly or in time. Modern parachutes also typically have an Automatic Activation Device (AAD) that will release the main or reserve canopy automatically in the event that the skydiver cannot. Despite all of these safety measures, equipment malfunctions do happen sometimes. The parachutes may deploy incorrectly or not at all, causing damage to the canopy itself or resulting in improper support of the skydiver’s weight, which can cause him or her to land too hard or be unable to land in a safe location.
In some cases, the chances of skydiving fatalities increase when large groups of skydivers jump together. Despite each person jumping individually with delays in between, there is a risk of collisions in the air. This can cause a person not to be able to deploy his or her parachute or can cause two or more parachute lines to become tangled, resulting in a crash landing. Even if the lines do not become tangled, a collision between parachutes can cause rips in the main or reserve canopies, also resulting in a crash.
Occasionally, skydiving fatalities are caused by the skydiver not deploying his or her parachute. This can be due to a skydiver panicking or passing out shortly after jumping, and either he or she does not have an ADD or the device fails. In rare cases, a skydiver will jump without intending to deploy his or her canopy, resulting in skydiving fatalities due to suicide.