Photographer Employed by Skydiving Company Dies on ‘Routine Jump’

Mount Cook
Mount Cook in New Zealand where the incident happened on October 17.

A photographer employed as a camera “flyer” at a skydiving company died after being critically injured in an accident.

The incident happened last Tuesday (October 17) on Mount Cook in Pukaki, New Zealand. The photographer was airlifted to a hospital in Christchurch in a critical condition but succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

The experienced camera operator, who was working for Skydive Mount Cook, is said to have encountered an unknown issue during his descent.

A spokesperson for the company says everyone is “devastated by the loss of our treasured colleague, and our thoughts are with his family during this time.”

The company says that its initial investigation has ruled out an equipment failure and stresses it is confident in its “robust systems.”

“However, whilst this investigation is still open, we will continue to work with local authorities and will be unable to make any further comments at this time,” it adds.

Little is known about the accident, but Skydive Mt Cook told the New Zealand Herald last week that the employee was not jumping in tandem with any customers or passengers at the time and was completing a “routine jump.”

“We are cooperating with local authorities who were immediately notified and are investigating the situation further,” a company spokesperson said last week.

“We are currently in communication with the affected team member’s family.”

On the Skydive Mount Cook’s website, it describes its personal photographers as “specially trained” to capture customers up close while thousands of feet in the air.

“They hang outside of the plane, waiting for the moment you dive, then impressively control their movements to join up with you and film the very best perspectives.”

There have been four skydiving deaths in New Zealand in four and a half years; a 21-year-old camera operator, Theo Williams, died in March 2021 during a commercial skydive jump.

A New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) investigation found the “most likely cause of the accident was judgment error by the skydiver when close to the ground”.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.