COWETA COUNTY, Ga. – An 18-year-old skydiving as part of a bucket list adventure and her instructor died Sunday during a tandem jump after their parachute failed.
Jeanna Triplicata’s family watched from the ground as she and her instructor, Nick Esposito were seen somersaulting in the sky as they fell to the ground, CNN reported.
They died at the scene.
“We were all so looking forward to after she landed and to talk to her and hear her story,” father Joey Triplicata told CNN. “I feel like we were robbed of that and now we’re robbed of the rest of her life. It’s so painful.”
The primary parachute failed to open properly after they initially jumped, investigators said. The emergency parachute deployed, but they were too low for it to be effective and fully open.
Esposito, 35, was an experienced skydiver. Skydive Atlanta is working with investigators to determine what went wrong.
“Our community is devastated for both our team member and the student and their respective families,” Skydive Atlanta owner Trey Holladay said in a statement. “We are all stunned and truly at a loss for words as we are a close-knit family. We have spoken with the next of kin and all are asking for privacy while we process and grieve.”
Skydive deaths are rare. There were 15 fatal jumps out of 3.3 million in 2019, according to the United Sate Parachute Association.
Tandem diving is considered safer, with 1 death in every 500,000 over the last decade.
“We want to know what happened and I hope and pray that we will eventually know what happened,” Triplicata said. “I want this never to happen again, so that’s why I want to know what happened. So, a parent, husband, a wife, a daughter will never have to go through this again. This pain is nearly unbearable.”
Jeanna Triplicata had recently graduated from high school and planned to attend the University of North Georgia next month, WSB-TV reported. She planned the skydiving trip with her grandmother, Renee Sands. It was only Triplicata’s second time on a plane.
“She wanted to just see how things look up in the air that high,” Joey Triplicata said. “She had never experienced that. It was a lot of first times for her and it was supposed to be a great, great day and it turned out to be the worst day of our lives.”
The family started a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral costs.