PERRIS, Calif. (AP) — The experienced skydiver who may have been attempting a risky maneuver when he died on landing at a Southern California parachuting center has been identified as a Canadian man, the coroner's office said Wednesday.
It was the sixth skydiving death at the popular Southern California sport parachuting facility in the past 15 months.
Michael Ungar, 32, of Ontario, died Tuesday afternoon at Perris Valley Skydiving after landing hard at the Riverside County sport parachuting base about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. His hometown was not immediately available.
Unger, who was injured during a difficult aerial maneuver, landed in a shallow pond at 2:01 p.m. and friends pulled him out of the water, the Riverside County coroner and Perris police said in a news release.
Ungar's parachute was open and he may have been attempting an aggressive "swooping" maneuver involving a high-speed dive to skim over the ground before landing.
Skydiving center manager Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld said Ungar sometimes worked as an instructor at Skydive Hollister on California's Central Coast. Ungar, who had 2,000 jumps to his credit, was visiting the Perris area and had rarely, if ever, jumped at the facility, Brodsky-Chenfeld said.
Ungar's parachute was open and he was circling as he neared the ground, witness Jack Nix of Fontana told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. But when he did not pull up or turn his body upright from parallel to the ground, Nix said he knew the skydiver was in trouble.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the air safety regulator only investigates such deaths to determine whether the parachute was packed properly by a certified packer.
Perris is regarded as one of the world's foremost facilities and has more than 140,000 jumps per year, Brodsky-Chenfeld said, which is about 5 percent of the 3 million jumps nationally in the United States.
It has been particularly difficult year at the facility.
In April, two skydivers collided, killing Jacob Jensen, 32, of Denmark. The other man survived critical injuries.
In March, two skydivers were killed when their parachutes deflated and they fell 300 feet.
In February, a 41-year-old Australian woman died after failing to open a backup chute.
In September 2010, a 51-year-old Russian man died after a solo jump. The man's body was not found until two months later by a farmer plowing a field. His parachutes had not been deployed.
There have been 14 deaths at the Perris Valley Airport since 2000.
Jumpers continued to skydive Tuesday following the accident.
Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com
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