Skydiver may have been unconscious during freefall

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jul 24 2013 11:29:54 AM HST

Witnesses say a Hawaii skydiver might have been unconscious the whole way down.

MOKULEIA, Hawaii -

A 30-year-old man was critically injured Tuesday after a skydiving accident on Oahu's North Shore.

Witnesses say the man may have been unconscious during the entire skydive.  An employee at Skydive Hawaii says the man was doing a low-altitude jump in the morning from about 5,000 feet above Dillingham Airfield.

The man may have hit his head on someone or something when jumping from the plane.

An automated safety device sensed the fall and triggered his parachute to open.

"We believe he may have lost consciousness because of head trauma," said T.K. Hinshaw from Skydive Hawaii.  "That can happen by striking another skydiver in freefall, which is what happened in the past."

The man landed in a newly-plowed field about 300 yards from the runway.  Witnesses say he landed on his legs on the soft dirt.  The man is a student at Skydive Hawaii and he was attempting his 23rd jump to get a license.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.

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