Two Icelandic Skydivers Die In Jump Over Florida

 @ericbrownzzz
on March 24 2013 4:11 PM

Two Icelandic skydivers, an instructor and a student, were killed during a jump in Florida on Saturday.

Orvar Arnarson, 40, the instructor, and Andrimar Pordarson, 25, the student, were members of a group of more than 20 skydivers on a jump in windy conditions near Zephyrhills, Fla. The Tampa Bay Times reported that when the rest of the skydivers landed, they saw no sign of either Arnarson or Pordarson.

Hours later, their bodies were found nearby.

The two Icelandic skydivers were participating in a jump at Skydive City around 10 a.m. EDT. Arnarson was described as a “very experienced” instructor with several thousand jumps under his belt; Pordarson was on his eighth jump. 

According to local police, their bodies were spotted by a helicopter crew surveying the area around 7:30 p.m.

"Our helicopter was able to get a visual from the air," the Tampa Bay Times quoted Pasco County Sheriff's Department representative Melanie Snow as saying. "They were found very close to each other south of the airport off of Yonkers Road."

Before police became involved in the search, Skydive City used four other planes to scout for the bodies of the jumpers.

Although conditions were windy at the time of the accident, Skydive City employees felt they were safe enough for a jump. Flights left before and after the ill-fated one, but flights later in the day were cancelled because of safety concerns. 

"It's a risk we take," Eric Hildebrand, a former instructor at Skydive City who jumps on weekends, told the Tampa Bay Times. "It was windy, but not unreasonable."

The Tampa Bay Times noted that Hildebrand jumped during the two flights before and after the flight bearing Arnarson and Pordarson.

Officials are still unsure exactly what led to their deaths. Skydivers are equipped with both automatic emergency parachutes and their main parachutes. The reserve parachutes are set to open about 700 feet off the ground as a safety measure.

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