Police and ambulance staff at the scene of a skydiving fatality near Wanaka Airport yesterday afternoon. Photo by Mark Price.
Police have named a 38-year-old Italian man who died in a
skydiving accident while filming a tandem jump in Wanaka
He was Antonino Arillotta.
No further details have been released.
Mr Arillotta was filming others on a paid tandem skydive near
Wanaka Airport about 4pm, police and witnesses said.
He landed on the golf driving range of the Have a Shot sports
entertainment complex, across State Highway 6 from the main
entrance to the airport.
Police said it appeared the skydiver had difficulties with
his main and reserve parachutes, and died when he hit the
The incident was witnessed by several people who were offered
support and counselling.
No-one else was
injured in the incident and the death has been referred to
Witness James Loughnan, of Wanaka, told the Otago Daily
Times he had been working on his plane across the highway
from the driving range.
He heard the flutter of a parachute and looked up to see the
skydiver at a height of about 70m, dropping to the ground.
The skydiver's white reserve chute was trailing behind him,
but was not deployed enough to break his fall, Mr Loughnan
The bag for the reserve chute was found just a few metres
away, indicating the chute had been deployed close to the
ground, he said.
The main chute was found a few hundred metres away, across Mt
Unlike other skydivers in the air at the time, the man was on
his own without a tandem passenger, Mr Loughnan said.
He understood the man was a skydiving photographer.
Mr Loughnan said he knew from his own flying experience that
when a southeast wind was blowing, as it was when the
skydiver jumped, there could be rotational turbulence off
hills near where he hit the ground.