Police seek footage of Qld skydiving crash

Investigators are trawling through video footage to shed light on how a mother and two experienced skydiving instructors plunged to their deaths after an apparent mid-air collision in northern Queensland.

 

Local mum Kerri Pike, 54, was doing tandem jump with one of the instructors on Friday afternoon when police believe they collided with a solo instructor.

Their parachutes failed to open properly, with one instructor found in a backyard and the tandem pair in a nearby tree, about 1.5km away from the regular landing zone at Mission Beach.

The jump had reportedly been bought for Ms Pike as a birthday present.

Police were asking onlookers who filmed the tragic accident to forward their footage to help determine what happened.

They have not named the trio, but the instructors have been identified as Peter Dawson, 35, and 34-year-old Toby Turner by friends and family on social media.

"All we can say is that our beautiful boy died doing what he loved. Our hearts are broken, but we know that every tear we shed Peter was worth," Liz Dawson wrote on Facebook.

It's understood Mr Dawson's family are travelling to Queensland on Saturday from Victoria.

Ms Pike, the wife of a former local councillor, was reportedly a mother of eight children.

"She was a wonderful mother, a beautiful soul and a faithful friend to many," Natalie McEachan wrote on Facebook.

"The world has lost another angel. R.I.P. Kerri. You did all who loved you proud."

Operator Skydive Australia said both instructors were highly experienced with a combined 17,000 jumps between them.

"I'm not in a position to speculate about what happened yesterday afternoon but we will be conducting an internal review to make sure all systems and processes were followed in the correct manner," CEO Anthony Ritter told reporters on Saturday.

"All our sites across the country are independently checked by safety auditors every year and Mission Beach was checked just two months ago and the findings were zero non-compliances."

Mr Ritter said the tight-knit community was "hurting" and the company had been in contact with the families of the victims and Skydive Mission Beach staff to "offer support in any way we can".

Police have asked anyone with footage of the incident to contact them.

"(We ask) any of the people that did witness it, or have some of type of footage, in relation to the incident, to come forward to police so we can review it," Senior Sergeant Peter Williamson said on Friday.

The relevant authority, Australian Parachute Federation, is investigating the tragedy and will provide a report to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Skydive Australia has indefinitely suspended skydiving operations at Mission Beach while investigations into the incident continue.

It has placed a sign saying "closed until further notice" at its Porter Promenade office.

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