An 18-year-old teenage girl, alongside her instructor, have plummeted to their deaths after their primary AND secondary parachute failed to open up.
Jeanna Triplicata, 18, and her instructor Nick Esposito, 35, have both died in what has been called a freak accident when both their primary and secondary parachute failed to open.
Before starting university, Jeanna from Newnan, Georgia, had made a bucket list of things she wanted to do before the next chapter of her life. From getting a nose ring and a small tattoo to honour her grandfather, she was determined to make the most of life.
One of the things on her bucket list was skydiving and so that she could complete this goal, she and her grandmother went to Atlanta so they could share this amazing experience together.
Jeanna’s father stated she and her grandmother were both incredibly excited as they headed up in a place to jump in tandem.
Her father, Joey Triplicata, said: “That morning [Jeanna] wasn’t afraid, she wasn’t apprehensive, she was just ready to do it.”
As she and her grandmother Renee had always been close, they decided it would be an incredible experience they should share.
From Skydive Atlanta, the pair went up in a plane together and each jumped in tandem with a professional skydiver.
Although not taking part themselves, Jeanna’s family – including her parents and her younger brother and sister – decided to all go along and watch the skydive.
In view of the family, Renee landed safely on the ground alongside her skydiving instructor. Yet somehow, something tragically went wrong with Jeanna and professional skydiver Nick’s first and secondary parachute.
Even from a distance, Jeanna’s father said it was clear to see that something wasn’t quite right as the parachute began “spinning upside down”.
He said: “My wife actually turned to me and said ‘I hope that’s not Jeanna’.”
Following the landing of Jeanna and Nick’s parachute, the Skydive Atlanta team drove out to field. On their return, the family were confused when they realised Jeanna was not with them.
Distressed, her father decided to head out to the field himself and see what was going on. It was then that he found a deputy at the scene who said: “It doesn’t look good.”
Later on, Jeanna’s father was informed that she had not survived the fall and that her instructor had also died in the accident.
Mr Triplicata told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “It was the worst day of our lives. It doesn’t even seem real. We’re going to miss her every day for the rest of our lives.”
At around 12.45 pm on Sunday, deputies were called out to Rocky Bottom Road near the Thomaston-Upson County Airport, according to Upson Sheriff Dan Kilgore.
The sheriff explained that Jeanna and Nick had been attached to a parachute rig yet “upon exiting the aircraft, the primary parachute failed to open properly and went into a spin”.
Until it was at an extremely low altitude, the emergency parachute did not deploy and didn’t fully open.
On Monday, Skydive Atlanta confirmed that they were working with the FAA in order to determine what happened fully, with the owner stating they were “devastated” by the incident.
In an email statement to the AJC, Skydive Atlanta owner Trey Holladay said: “Our community is devastated for both our team member and the student and their respective families.
“We are all stunned and truly at a loss for words as we are a close-knit family. We have spoken with the next of kin and all are asking for privacy while we process and grieve.”
Alongside Jeanna and Nick had been a videographer who had recorded the jump, they had not been injured in the freak accident.
Once the investigation into the accident is complete, the Triplicata family have been told they will be able to review the final moments of Jeanna on the footage.
Her father said: “I’m hoping and praying that she was just having the time of her life.”