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73-year-old Arizona man dies after parachute fails to fully deploy during skydiving jump

The Federal Aviation Administration will inspect the parachute and determine a cause of the complications that prevented it from fully deploying.

A 73-year-old Arizona man died Wednesday while skydiving with his friends after his parachute failed to fully deploy, local authorities said. 

Terry Gardner, of Casa Grande, was on his third jump of the day with three friends and fellow skydivers around 12 p.m. local time when the incident happened, Eloy police said in a statement.

He and his group had planned a formation jump from an altitude of 14,000 feet but were unable to complete the formation (though police don’t believe that contributed to Gardner’s accident). 

While other skydivers were able to land safely and without incident, when Gardner's parachute deployed, "unexpected complications arose" that resulted in a "hard landing without a fully deployed parachute," police said.

After the landing, Eloy Fire District personnel responded and administered lifesaving measures. Gardner was hospitalized and died from his injuries.

"At this time, it remains uncertain if there were any issues with the parachute," Eloy police said, noting the Federal Aviation Administration will inspect the parachute and determine a cause of the complications. 

The investigation continues. 

“Our thoughts and condolences are with all those who knew and loved Terry Gardner during this challenging time,” police said.

A similar tragedy unfolded last month in Colorado, when a 36-year-old man wearing a wing suit died after his parachutes failed to deploy. 

“Early information indicated that it appeared his primary and/or reserve chute were not deployed before striking the ground,” a public safety spokesperson said about the Jan. 27 incident.