A skydiver taking part in the “Dink Dink Boogie” at Grand Haven Memorial Airpark died Saturday afternoon as the result of injuries while landing a jump.
“We do have a parachute accident, a skydiving accident, and we do have one male that’s deceased,” said Sgt. Lee Adams of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety. “We’re still working on interviewing witnesses. It seems to be an accident. … There have been some people saying that there was a close call, almost a collision. We’re still trying to confirm that with witnesses.”
Adams confirmed that the deceased was a 33-year-old male. His name and hometown have not been released pending notification of the family.
According to a release from Skydive Grand Haven, the “Dink Dink Boogie” is a four-day skydiving festival which drew 200-plus skydivers from across the country.
“The deceased is a valued member of the skydiving community. The local skydiving community is in shock and mourns the loss of a fellow jumper who was a positive light to all,” the press release stated.
Andrew Draminski, a spokesperson with the Raw Dog skydiving group, has been skydiving for 10 years, and this is the first fatality at an event he's been a part of.
“Skydiving clearly is inherently dangerous,” Draminski said. “We work very hard to make it safe. This is tragic. We’re a very tight community. This particular individual I only met a few days ago, but that does’t change he’s a part of my community.”
Draminski did not witness the event, but talked to others who did.
“It’s really hard to get into a lot of detail,” he said. “I’ve talked to quite a few people who witnessed it directly. Just like with anything, people see things a little differently, recall things a little differently, and it’s an emotional thing.”
Draminski said the person who died was doing a solo jump, but other skydivers were landing at the same time. He said the deceased was a licensed jumper who had been skydiving for 10-plus years.
The skydiving boogie -- the term for a gathering of skydivers -- will continue Sunday.
“It’s a difficult decision that a lot of people outside of the comm might not understand,” Draminski said. “But it’s standard for us. We’re all going to keep doing what we do. We all know the risks inherent. It’s a group of people who believe in living life and living life fully involves risk. We’ll continue in large degree because we are a tight-knit community and we want to be together and work through this together.”