A skydiving instructor and the person with him on a tandem jump were fatally injured last month when the instructor's spine was injured as the chute opened, paralyzing him. That was the assessment from the Dutchess County, NY Medical Examiner in a report released late last week.
Medical Examiner Dr. Kari Reiber said that instructor Alex Chulsky, 25, of Brooklyn suffered a fracture of his upper spine as the chute opened, which caused an aortic injury. Making the tandem jump with Chulsky was Cappaqua real-estate developer David Winoker, age 49. Witnesses said the canopy appeared to open normally, but then went into an uncontrolled descent, according to a report in the Poughkeepsie Journal.
Dr. Reiber said it is unclear whether the spinal injury or the impact with the ground actually caused Chulsky's fatal injury, but either way, she said, "he would not have survived." She said the two events occurred too close together to determine a definitive cause of death.
The New York Post reported at the time of the accident that Winoker, a well-known real-estate executive in Manhattan, had agreed to make the jump to celebrate a friends' 50th birthday. His wife said at the time that he had originally been hesitant to go, but that she had encouraged him to make the jump.