2 Die in Perris Skydiving Accident

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Authorities are investigating the deaths of two veteran skydivers who were killed after their parachutes became entangled over Perris Valley Airport.

    Patrick James McGowan Jr. of Menifee and Christopher David Stasky of San Diego, were skydiving at the Perris Valley Airport around 3:30 p.m.

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    Two skydivers were killed Thursday at Perris Valley Airport, a popular spot for skydivers of all abilities.

    Although their parachutes opened properly, at about 200 to 300 feet above the ground, their canopies collided, said Cal Fire-Riverside County Capt. Mike Smith.

    Civilians attempted CPR. Paramedics took over upon arrival, but by 4 p.m. authorities declared the men dead. Both were 42.

    McGowan was a longtime skydiving instructor who worked with Skydive Perris for almost two decades and oversaw parachuting activities at the Perris airport, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported.

    Stasky was helping McGowan train parachute instructors for the Canadian military, the newspaper reported.

    Scott Smith, western regional director of the U.S. Parachute Association, told the newspaper that McGowan had more than 17,000 jumps.

    There have been at least two other recent skydiving deaths in this area.

    Nicole Hannan, a 41-year-old Australian, was killed in a skydiving accident on Feb. 28, after her backup chute failed to open. Hannan was an experienced skydiver with more than 1,000 jumps, according to an official at Perris Valley Skydiving.

    On Dec. 26, 2010, Brooke Baum, 33, of Newport Beach was killed after her parachute failed to properly deploy, according to officials at Perris Valley Skydiving. Like Hannan, Baum also was an experienced jumper, as were the two men killed today.

    Thursday's tragedy was being investigated by the Perris police, the Riverside coroner, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA.