Main Chute Failed, Reserve Deployed Too Low, FAA
A Skydive Spaceland skydiver was
found dead on Friday, November 9, two days after he was apparently
killed due to a parachute that failed to deploy, according to the
Scott Bell made the last jump of the day Wednesday but wasn't
noticed as missing because he is the person who checks people in
before they jump and accounts for them after they jump, said
Houston attorney Lee McMillian, the legal adviser for Skydive
Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas.
When employees noticed that he didn't return to the hangar
Wednesday night, people assumed he had simply walked home. Bell who
was 35-years-old, lived in a trailer on the facility's
When Bell didn't show for a staff meeting Thursday morning,
other employees were concerned but thought he had gone to a
girlfriend's house and simply missed the meeting, according to
On Friday, a pilot noticed a parachute in tall grass about 200
yards beyond the facility's drop zone, McMillian said. A Brazoria
County deputy and employees of the facility found the body in an
area south of the zone. Preliminary indications are that Bell's
main parachute failed and he deployed his reserve parachute too
late, McMillian said, adding that the incident is being treated as
Spokesman Roland Herwig with the Federal Aviation Administration
said they are investigating the fatal incident. The FAA regulates
both the equipment and procedures of skydiving establishments,
requiring that the reserve parachute be inspected and repacked
every 120 days by an FAA-certified parachute rigger.
Herwig was unsure when the parachutes at Skydive Spaceland were
last inspected but McMillian said Bell's equipment was last
inspected in August.
Bell's death is the first fatality at the facility, which opened
in 1999, McMillian said. McMillian himself a pilot and skydiver,
added, It's not uncommon for a skydiver to jump and land in front
of his home. Bell, who worked at the company a short time, was
considered very popular, McMillian said. He described Bell as an
experienced jumper, with 109 jumps under his belt.
"Everybody out here is pretty upset," said McMillian. Robbins
said Bell usually jumped about three to four times a month.