A 69-year-old British expat plunged to his death from a plane Wednesday afternoon while taking part in a skydive with the Thai Sky Adventures diving centre located in Sri Racha district near Pattaya.
The victim has been identified as James McConnell, an experienced Scottish skydiver with reportedly over 40 years of experience and a “much loved member of the skydiving community in Pattaya.”
Immediately after the foreigner’s body was recused from a big reservoir where he had landed police reportedly said they were “still checking the cause of his death” and whether he died “from the jumping or from drowning.”
It now appears though that a failure of safety measures can be ruled out.
According to an exclusive report by Thaivisa.com, police actually tend to believe that Mr McConnell
suffered a heart attack soon after jumping from the plane, and this, rather than a failure of safety, was what resulted in his death, Thaivisa understands.
Mr McConnell, who has more than 40 years diving experience had been doing what is known as a 5 way formation skydive.
As is standard during the formation, divers break off at 5,000ft before deploying their parachute at 3,500ft.
Eyewitnesses said Mr McConnell appeared to lose consciousness, causing him to drift onto his back.
Mr McConnell then made no attempt to deploy his parachute at 3,500ft. However, he did manage to pull his reserve chute moments later.
Mr McConnell then failed to release his steering toggles and consequently drifted with the wind into the water, the source told Thaivisa.
Although the response from people on the ground and emergency services was immediate, CPR failed to revive Mr McConnell and was pronounced dead a short time later in hospital.
An investigation remains underway but because safety has not been breached, Thai Sky Adventures will be open again on Saturday.