A 25-year-old man was killed and his skydiving instructor was injured during a tandem jump yesterday. Newsday reports, "The accident happened at 4:10 p.m. at Skydive Long Island, FAA investigators and Riverhead police said. Skydive Long Island is a Calverton-based business that caters to recreational skydivers and also operates a training school."
The skydiving student was identified as Gary Messina, a NYC Correction officer. Apparently Messina died during the landing; the NY Times spoke to Messina's father, "Mr. Messina said officials believed his son and the instructor were about 75 feet off the ground when a whirlwind of dust caused their parachute to collapse."
Messina, who had been working for the Correction department since 2012, was dead when emergency workers arrived. Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association Inc., said, "It's an unfortunate tragedy that we lose one of our brother officers the day before his [26th] birthday, a young man, a great officer with so much promise. Our hearts go out to his family and we will always be there for them."
The instructor is in critical condition at Stony Brook Hospital. Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard said, "I'm very sorry about the unfortunate skydiving accident that happened today. It resulted in one fatality and one person in critical condition. It's under investigation by the FAA and the police, and that's all I have to say."