Pasco Sheriff to discusses video footage from fatal skydive - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco Sheriff to discuss video footage from fatal skydive

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ZEPHYRHILLS, FL (WFLA) -

A helmet-mounted camera captured the deadly fall of two skydivers in Zephyrhills this past weekend, but Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said Tuesday that video would not be released.

"Their families have pleaded with us not to release this video," said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco during a news conference.  "We've gotten numerous calls from the Icelandic embassy and their consulate, not to release this video."

The sheriff office's investigation started Saturday when two skydivers were found dead after their jump in Zephyrhills.  The helmet camera was worn by 40-year-old Orvar Arnarson during his fatal jump with student Andrimar Pordarson.

Detective William Lindsey has seen the video.  He called it disturbing, but said it did shed some light on their final moments.

"In the video it appears the student doesn't pull his primary parachute, and the instructor attempts to assist," said Lindsey.

Lindsey said it is unknown whether Pordarson lost consciousness during the jump.  But Arnarson was obviously aware of what was going on and tried to save Pordarson until the very end.

"This video, it's a very sad situation," said Sheriff Nocco.  "It's a very sad ending to two people's lives who were going out to have a day of enjoyment."

At this time, the medical examiner found that Arnarson and Pordarson died from blunt trauma and the manner of death was determined to be an accident.

Saturday night, Sheriff's Office found the bodies of two men, one experienced skydiver, Arnarson,  the other a student, 25-year-old Andrimar Pordarson with just eight jumps under his belt, in a wooded area near Zephyrhills Municipal Airport off Yonkers Road.  

The skydivers were part of a group from Iceland jumping with Skydive City in Zephyrhills.  Their plane left around 10:30 AM, with 22 people on board.  When only 20 returned, Skydive City called Zephyrhills Police.  Later, the Sheriff's Office was called in to assist, and took over the investigation.

The longer the search went on, the less confident Skydive City owner David T.K. Hayes was that the men would be found alive.

"As time goes on, the experienced skydiver, especially, even if he had a skydive that went wrong, most of us would think he would've put himself down somewhere safe where he would've been able to walk out or at least certainly been seen from the air," said Hayes.
 
Hayes says what makes the news of their deaths so hard to believe is that both jumpers had automatic activation devices (AAD) in their reserve chutes.  AAD's trigger the reserve chute at about a 700-750 foot altitude.  Hayes confirmed that the men's main chutes were not deployed.  Hayes also said that the men's reserve chutes were deployed by the AAD but for some unknown reason, did not save their lives.
 
Investigators are now reviewing data recovered from the AADs worn by both men.
 
The Sheriff's Office said the FAA is also investigating the safety equipment used during this jump.

The men's bodies will be returned to their families in Iceland.
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