16 Jul 2017

Two dead in Sydney tandem skydiving incident

5:37 pm on 16 July 2017

The Sydney company that supervised a skydive yesterday in which two men plunged to their deaths has recorded six fatalities in the past 16 years.

An Australian police officer (file photo)

Photo: 123RF

Sydney Skydivers cancelled its jumps today out of respect for a "highly experienced" instructor in his 60s and a Singaporean in his 20s, who died on Saturday while jumping in tandem.

The pair died on a rural driveway at a property about 1km from their planned landing site.

These are not the first deaths under Sydney Skydivers' watch.

Five years ago, two men died in a similar location - a 27-year-old man was killed in July while a man in his 30s died in December.

In 2001 another two men died on the same day.

Remarkably, police were attending the first incident when the second one happened right in front of them.

'Sometimes accidents do happen'

Sydney Skydivers took to social media to apologise for the latest fatalities.

In a Facebook post this morning, the company said the younger man was completing his first ever tandem jump.

"This is the first fatality involving a first orientation Tandem skydive the company has had in over 40 years of operation and is an extremely rare incident," they said.

"The particular skydive the two men were undertaking was not especially challenging for a highly experienced instructor, who had done nearly 10,000 skydives and had nearly 30 years experience in the sport.

"The jump was from normal height and it is not yet clear what occurred."

Sydney Skydivers website describes its services as a "once in a lifetime experience" online, and claims that "safety always comes first, fun comes in a close second".

ABC News spoke to a person, who did not want to be identified, who dived in the same group as the men who died yesterday.

"After we finished our dive, all the instructors got called into a big group," they said.

"I think they must have dived after me."

Police from Camden Local Area Command have established a crime scene and are investigating the incident.

Brad Turner, chief executive of the Australian Parachute Federation (APF), the body that oversees skydiving in Australia, said specialist investigators were assisting police.

"We do have our best investigators on site now assisting the police and the Coroner's Department," Mr Turner said.

"The main focus will be on the equipment as long as it's not too badly disturbed … we should be able to establish exactly what happened with the equipment," he said.

"And whether it was equipment failure or human failure is something that will have to be established over time."

Mr Turner said APF member clubs were strictly audited every year.