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May 17, 2021

Watsonville woman killed in skydive had made more than 2,000 jumps

LODI—A 57-year-old Watsonville woman who died April 17 after her parachutes failed to open while skydiving in Lodi has been identified as Sabrina Call, the San Joaquin Sheriff-Coroner confirmed.

Witnesses said that both her main and reserve parachutes became tangled.

The incident occurred at about 2:30pm at the Lodi Parachute Center.

Company owner Bill Dause said Call was an experienced skydiver with more than 2,000 jumps under her belt. She had taken a break from the sport, however, and had made about 15 jumps in the last year.

The incident is not the first for the center. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 22 deaths have occurred there since the center opened in 1981.

That is a somewhat shocking number. According to the United States Parachute Association, in 2020 there were 11 fatal skydiving incidents out of roughly 2.8 million jumps at more than 200 skydiving centers.

According to the LA Times, the center in March was ordered to pay $40 million in a negligence lawsuit for the 2016 death of 18-year-old Tyler Turner.

In a press conference, Dause told reporters that skydivers know the high-risk nature of the sport when they strap on a parachute and climb aboard a plane. There is no insurance for skydiving companies due to the risk, he said.

Dause said that Call did not pack her own parachute, but that a professional rigger did it for her.

The FAA does not investigate skydiving accidents, and limits its investigations to inspecting the parachute rigging, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.

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