Accidental death at Grand Canyon Skydive

A man who was killed in a skydive accident had his holes patched and he was given a parachute.

Christopher Swales, 55, of Harrogate (North Yorkshire), received the Grand Canyon Skydive as a gift for his 30th wedding anniversary.

After Mr Swales’ accidental death, the US police investigation was closed.

Jonathan Heath, North Yorkshire coroner, also ruled that the death was accidental.

The parachute was examined by US police as part of an investigation. They found that it had many patches sewn into its fabric.

They had circled any defects or holes in the material with a pen. However, their investigation was closed after they determined that Mr Swales’ death was accidental.

Accidental death at Grand Canyon Skydive

While on vacation in Arizona, Mr Swales and Deborah renewed their wedding vows.

They had booked the paragon skydiving company and Mr Swales was paired with Matthew McGonagle, an instructor for the jump.

McGonagle stated that everything was normal the morning of the jump, and that the winds at 27mph were strong, but he had jumped many other times in these conditions.

He was 34 years old and worked for the US Air Force. He had more than 1,500 jumps. He also worked weekends for the skydiving company.

Two men had jumped from the Cessna plane and the parachute was open. Witnesses on the ground claimed that the men started free-falling shortly afterwards.

Mr Swales sustained serious injuries from the impact of the ball and was later declared dead. McGonagle fractured his leg.

American police told him he felt pressure changing as they approached landing area. He suspected that the parachute had collapsed. However, he couldn’t recall anything else.

Jason Theuma, the company owner, stated in a statement that all equipment was functioning properly and that Mr McGonagle must be panicked at realizing they would miss the landing zone.

Jonathan Heath, North Yorkshire coroner, stated that it seemed “there was nothing untoward” at the beginning of the free-fall parachute jump.

He said, “It was obvious that the landing spot was going to be lost.” The manoeuvre was successful. The free fall occurred because the parachute didn’t recover from this maneuver.

“On the balance, this was an accident.”


Members of Mr Swales’s family stated after the hearing that it was important for the facts to be established by these proceedings.

“Chris lived a full and happy life. It was full of love and great times. There were many great times. We will always remember him that way.