After a man died in a skydiving accident on July 30, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reportedly launched an investigation into whether his parachute was properly packed and deployed. Gary Messina, a 25-year old New York City corrections officer, was killed in the accident, and his instructor, Christopher Scott, was seriously injured. The FAA investigation replaces an earlier investigation begun by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The accident occurred at Skydive Long Island, a recreational skydiving company. The founder of Skydive Long Island, Ray Maynard, blamed the accident on a strong whirlwind colloquially known as a “dust devil. “ The wind, he says, sent both jumpers into a free fall somewhere between 75 and 150 feet above the ground. Several witnesses told area police that the parachute did deploy.
Skydive Long Island attorneys battled to prevent OSHA from investigating the incident, arguing that it had no jurisdiction to conduct an investigation. OSHA often inspects workplace accidents to uncover potential violations of occupational safety. The company believed that it was within the FAA’s jurisdiction instead. Maynard also denied reports that the FAA is looking into issues relating to the parachute, claiming that the organization knows everything was packed and prepared according to FAA standards.
Of course, skydiving is a potentially dangerous activity. But there are numerous regulations in place to make it as safe as possible for the average person. When a company fails to meet those regulations, it could be found negligent and liable for injuries or deaths that result. Should the FAA report findings that contradict Skydive Long Island’s statement, Mr. Scott and the family of Mr. Messina may reconsider whether to take legal action.
To learn more about filing a personal injury lawsuit in New York City, consult a lawyer.