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Pasco Tribune

Skydiving instructor tried to open student's chute

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Published:   |   Updated: March 27, 2013 at 07:55 AM

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NEW PORT RICHEY -

The helmet camera worn by a skydiving instructor showed him attempting to activate a student's parachute during a deadly jump Saturday in Zephyrhills.

Skydive instructor Orvar Arnarson, 41, and his student Andrimar Pordarson, 25, both from Iceland, died from blunt trauma when their parachutes did not open during a jump originating from Skydive City.

The video attached to Arnarson's helmet showed him attempting to open Pordarson's chute. Pordarson, according to Bill Lindsey, the lead detective for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, never attempted to open his parachute.

Lindsey, who spoke during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the sheriff's office, refused to speculate if Pordarson lost consciousness or if there was any other reason for him not opening the chute.

“He was a hero,” Lindsey said of Arnarson. “He died a hero.”

The pair was among a group of 19 skydivers who were on a plane that left Zephyrhills Airport at 10:30 a.m. There were 21 people on the plane.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the agency would not be releasing the footage from the camera, citing a state law that keeps a video or audio recording “that depicts or records the killing of a person” from being released.

“Though I have not seen the video myself, hearing the graphic nature of what occurred, it's tragic what happened to these two individuals,” Nocco said.

Lindsey said the Federal Aviation Authority will formally join the investigation this week.

Both skydivers had a computerized device attached to their parachutes that initiated the release of a secondary parachute. Although the secondary chute released, it was unable to prevent their deaths.

The two victims had successfully completed two other jumps Saturday morning with 20 other people. But when they didn't return from their third jump, their disappearance tipped off a search, Pasco County sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow said.

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