Christopher Swales with wife Debbie.
Christopher Swales with wife Debbie.

Grim discovery in dead tourist’s parachute

A BRITISH tourist who plunged to his death in a Grand Canyon skydiving tragedy had been given a parachute with holes in it, US police have revealed.

Christopher Swales, 55, was doing a tandem leap as a 30th wedding anniversary gift from his wife.

But his first skydive ended in disaster when something went wrong as he and his instructor came in to land, The Sun reported.

Mr Swales, a father-of-two, was killed but his jump partner survived with a broken leg.

 

Christopher Swales with wife Deborah.
Christopher Swales with wife Deborah.

 

US police said there was a hole in the parachute used by Mr Swales.
US police said there was a hole in the parachute used by Mr Swales.

 

A report by investigators who later checked the equipment has now been obtained by The Sun.

It reveals the canopy had a series of holes "circled with pen to track movement, or continuing tear, of the material".

It states "numerous" patches had been sewn on and the jump took place when wind was gusting up to more than 43km/h. In Australia, student parachutists must not make a descent if wind speed is more than 28km/h.

 

The jump was an anniversary gift from Mr Swales’ wife Deborah.
The jump was an anniversary gift from Mr Swales’ wife Deborah.

But police in the United States have closed the case, concluding it was an accident.

A spokesman for skydive firm Paragon said: "All the equipment was functioning 100 per cent correctly. It was maintained according to the regulations."

 

Tragedy struck while the couple was holidaying in the US.
Tragedy struck while the couple was holidaying in the US.

The firm has blamed military-trained instructor Matthew McGonagle, 34, for "panicking" and turning too sharply when he missed the landing zone.

Mr Swales, who ran a joinery firm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was on holiday in Arizona with wife Deborah, 53, in September.

They renewed their vows and she had bought him the parachute experience.

Ms Swales declined to comment on the police report.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission