TROY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) – Two skydivers are recovering after colliding in midair, then crashing through the roof of a training building on the property of the Cleveland Skydiving Center on Saturday.
Authorities say they were summoned about 2:30 p.m. Saturday on what was a near perfect day for skydiving.
“We spoke to witnesses and it was reported that the two parachuters got tangled approximately 150 to 200 feet in the air with their parachutes. Just before getting to the roof, they had separated where they had both went through the roof in two separate spots,” said Eric Mathews, the Troy Township fire chief.
One of the skydivers crashed completely through the building, landing on and injuring another skydiver who was in the building at the time.
“It just so happened there was somebody walking through that barn or that building at that time and one of the parachutists hit him while he was walking across the barn,” said Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand.
The other skydiver was caught in the rafters of the building and was taken down by bystanders who used a ladder to get to him, according to Mathews.
The skydiver who landed on the ground was flown to a Cleveland hospital. The person he landed on was transported by ambulance to a Geauga County Hospital.
The sheriff says the skydiver who was stuck in the rafters declined transport, saying he would have friends take him to a hospital for evaluation.
The skydiving center prides itself on its safety record. Owner Marcie Anne Smith shared a record-breaking event with FOX 8 in July, during which 48 individual skydivers held a formation for ten seconds after diving out of three separate planes.
“Both skydivers have thousands of skydives themselves and hundreds of skydives with each other and were under fully functioning parachutes at the time of the collision,” a statement said, in part. “This was completely out of the ordinary and unexpected. We are very fortunate and happy that our friends are safe and were able to walk away from this with only minor injuries.”
She said repairs are being done on the hangar and skydiving operations resumed normally the next morning.
Sheriff Hildenbrand says one of the skydivers told first responders at the scene that they may have been travelling as fast as 90-100 miles per hour when they crashed through the roof.
“Usually you expect the absolute worst and hope for the best and this was one of the cases where were expecting the worst and ended up with a lot better outcome than what we were actually dispatched for, which on our side is always a good thing,” said Mathews.