British man fell to death after being given parachute with holes, police say

Chiara Giordano
Stock image of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, US: Getty/iStock

A British man who died while skydiving on holiday had been given a parachute with holes, according to a police report.

Christopher Swales, 55, died after going into free-fall during a tandem skydive with an instructor near the Grand Canyon, in Arizona.

He was found lying unconscious at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport and rushed to hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

His skydiving partner, who worked for Paragon Skydive, survived the fall but suffered a broken leg.

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said there were “no indications the incident is criminal in nature” at the time – and police later closed the case, concluding it was an accident.

But it has now been claimed the parachute used for the skydive may have had holes in it.

According to a police report seen by The Sun, investigators found a series of holes in the canopy of the parachute.

The report stated there were holes “circled with pen to track movement, or continuing tear, of the material” and “numerous” patches sewn on to the parachute.

Paragon Skydive insisted the equipment used during the skydive was working properly.

The company told The Sun: “All the equipment was functioning 100 per cent correctly. It was maintained according to the regulations.”

Mr Swales, who ran a joinery firm in Harrogate, Yorkshire, had been holidaying with his wife Deborah before his death in September 2019.

The couple had renewed their vows and Ms Swales had bought him the parachute experience as a 30th wedding anniversary gift.

Paragon Skydive and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has been contacted for comment.

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