Source: Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department
PERRIS, California – Veteran skydiver Sean Carey, 35, was killed early Saturday morning during the 2012 Swoopers California Regional Canopy Piloting League skydiving competition held at Perris Valley Skydiving facility, according to the a Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner Department press release.

Carey, 35, of San Diego, was transported from the skydiving facility in the 2000 block of Goetz Road to Riverside County Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead just before 10 a.m.

According to the press release and news reports, Carey struck the ground during a solo maneuver called “swooping” or “canopy piloting” where the skydiver skims a few feet above the ground and specially designed water ponds at speeds of up to 60 mph.

Skydiving and Negligence

Skydiving is an inherently dangerous sport due to the nature of jumping out of a plane with only a parachute, but the act of swopping at high speeds close to the ground is even more risky. Although skydivers sign liability waivers in order to participate in such activities there are some cases where someone else may be liable for a death. Personal injury attorneys say it may be difficult to prove the operator of a skydiving center was negligent or reckless.

Skydiver Christian Barton sued Bill Dause and his company the Parachute Center in Superior Court of San Joaquin County, California after he severely injured himself after he struck the tail of the plane during a jump in the summer of 2006. Barton, 32, claimed Dause operated the plane in a manner inconsistent with standards prescribed for safe skydiving and it resulted in him hitting the tail of the plane, knocking him unconscious and fracturing his vertebrae.

He sought $8 million in damages for medical bills, past and future lost wages and pain and suffering. However, after two days of deliberating, the jury ruled that “Dause was flying the plane in a manner that was not entirely reckless.”

A 2001 product liability case in Missouri brought against the engine manufacturer Teledyne Industries, Inc. awarded $27.5 million to six families of skydivers and the pilot killed in a plane crash due to engine failure. The skydivers and pilot survived the impact of the crash, but died because of smoke inhalation and burn injuries.

The plaintiffs claimed the engine failed due to improperly designed oil transfer tubes. The tubes were designed to supply oil to the connecting rods, but when they failed to do so it triggered engine failure as two rods broke. Plaintiffs argued that there had been 14 other incidents where oil transfer tubes had caused engine damage.

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The Seegmiller Law Firm can be reached at 1-855-ASK–WEST. For over 30 years, the firm has been a staunch advocate for victims’ rights and has fought for clients involved in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability, product liability, auto accidents, dog bites, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, at-work injuries and more. The firm has offices in Irvine, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.