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Skydiving Student Killed in Weekend Accident in Arizona

by Alex Johnson /  / Updated 

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Last-second turbulence was blamed Monday for sending a tandem skydiving team plunging into the ground over the weekend in Arizona, killing a Colorado woman and seriously injuring her instructor.

Geriann Henderson, 26, of Teller County, Colorado, was killed and Todd Dimauro, 40, an instructor with Skydive Phoenix Inc., suffered two broken legs when "something went terribly wrong just before hitting the ground" Saturday in Pinal County, Arizona, the Pinal sheriff's office said Monday.

Henderson, who the skydiving company said was taking part in her second jump in the company's accelerated program, was found dead at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

Dimauro, described as "a very experienced jump instructor," is expected to survive.

Skydive Phoenix said in a statement that preliminary information indicated that the main parachute failed to deploy but that Dimauro and Henderson properly deployed their reserve chutes. But turbulence arose, "turning the parachute into the ground at the last second," the company said.

"It looks like all of the safety measures were in place," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Monday. "Witnesses reported that both parachutes deployed, but something went terribly wrong just before hitting the ground."

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Pinal County, Arizona, sheriff's officials called Saturday's skydiving accident 'tragic.'NBC News Channel

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