A veteran skydiver, who’d completed 8,000 jumps and trained Navy SEALs, plummeted to his death at a skydiving competition Saturday morning in San Diego.
Sean Carey attempted a maneuver known as “swooping,” which requires the diver to fly just feet above the ground at speeds up to 60 mph, the Press-Enterprise reports. Failing to pull up in time, Carey crashed into a pond at Perris Valley Skydiving. The 35-year-old, who was an instructor at Skydive San Diego, received medical treatment at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, Calif., where he later died.
Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld, manager of the skydiving facility, said Carey had won swooping competitions at Perris before and the maneuver was his “specialty.” However, Brodsky-Chenfeld briefly banned swooping last December after Canadian jumper Michael Ungar, 32, died attempting it.
“Swooping … requires incredible skill and concentration … of which Sean had,” Blake Robinson, director of operations at Skydive San Diego, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It’s just the margin of error is small.”
Carey is one of 15 people to die at Perry Valley Skydiving since 2000. Though swooping is considered one of the most dangerous aspects of the sport, whether or not it will remain legal at Perris remains uncertain.