Wanaka police yesterday named the 38-year-old man who died in
a skydiving accident in Wanaka on Thursday.
Antonino Arillotta was a contractor working for Sky Dive Lake
Wanaka Ltd, which operates from the Wanaka Airport, opposite
the Have a Shot golf driving range where Mr Arillotta died on
hitting the ground.
Company directors Jools and Dave Hall declined to discuss the
accident while investigations into the cause were continuing.
However, Mrs Hall said Mr Arillotta was known as "Nino" and
all his friends in New Zealand were fellow skydivers.
"We're all still quite gutted, to be honest."
Civil Aviation Authority corporate communications manager
Mike Richards said yesterday Skydive Lake Wanaka had
voluntarily suspended its operations.
"This is not required by the CAA. However, it is a respectful
action and also allows staff and locals time to come to terms
with what has happened."
He described Skydive Lake Wanaka as a "very professional
company" certificated by the CAA under the new Part 115
Adventure Aviation Rule. The rule was introduced last
November to strengthen safeguards governing adventure
Mr Richards said Thursday's accident was the first adventure
aviation fatality in New Zealand since the new rule came into
At least two CAA safety investigators would spend two days in
Wanaka conducting interviews, and liaising with police and
"The investigators will then bring all gear associated with
the accident back to Wellington for detailed examination and
testing," Mr Richards said.
"This will include all parachute gear and related equipment
and the camera used by Mr Arillotta."
Wanaka Senior Constable Bruce McLean said Mr Arillotta had
been working in Wanaka for the last two months and had been
in the country for a short time before that.
The Otago Daily Times understands Mr Arillotta was
from Reggio Calabria, a city at the southern tip of Italy.
His body has been taken to Dunedin for a postmortem.
Police have said Mr Arillotta was filming other tandem
skydivers about 4pm on Thursday when he appeared to have
difficulties with his main and reserve parachutes.
Mr Arillotta's main chute was found some distance away and a
witness told the ODT Mr Arillotta's reserve parachute had
been deployed but was trailing behind him and did not break
Police said the incident was witnessed by several people who
were offered support and counselling.
• October 2011: A 34-year-old man sustained spinal injuries
when his parachute collapsed in a paragliding incident near
Whakamaru, 40km northwest of Taupo.
• June 2010: Gary Cullen (51), of Ruakaka in Northland, was
killed in Norway when a rogue gust of wind caught his
inflated parachute during a "ground launching" and he was
dragged down a hill.
• October 2008: Jo Snodin (27) an experienced skydiving
videographer, failed to slow down her parachute as she came
in to land at Mercer Airport, near Auckland. She sustained
moderate injuries to her leg and pelvis as she hit the
• February 2008: Simon Hepple (32) died after he lost air in
his parachute during a landing at Mercer Airport.
• December 2001: A 46-year-old skydiver died after crashing
while completing a manoeuvre close to landing at an airfield
Source: The New Zealand Herald