Skydiver injured in crash
EAST OF PUNTA GORDA — A skydiver believed to be on holiday leave from the U.S. Army crashed into a tree while skydiving near the Shell Creek Airport Saturday afternoon and was flown to a trauma center for treatment, according to a Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputy and other witnesses.
The victim, a certified parachutist, struck the tree at a rural residence near the airport and suffered a broken femur, CCSO Deputy Kenneth Rolland said. Charlotte County Fire/EMS medics responded and summoned a medical helicopter, which landed in a nearby field and evacuated the patient to a hospital, Rolland said.
The victim’s parachute had deployed properly, Rolland said. The cause of the accident remained unclear.
“He’s got a broken femur, but he’s doing very good,” said a spokeswoman for nearby Southwest Florida Skydive, which had arranged the jump.
She declined to identify the victim because she had not been authorized to do so by either the man or his family.
She described the victim as “an experienced jumper,” and attributed the accident to “skydiver error.”
“He probably misjudged his landing zone,” she said.
A fellow skydiver at the club said the victim had been on leave from the Army and was due to be deployed overseas in a month or so.
Skydiving accidents involving club members are “very rare,” according to the spokeswoman.