Local News

Man perishes after Davis skydiving accident

By From page A1 | August 27, 2013

Andrew Cofer, a 23-year-old Lodi man, died in a Davis skydiving accident this weekend when his harness became detached during decent.

The Yolo County Sheriff’s Deputies initially responded to the report of a skydiving accident at the Skydance Skydiving facility in the Yolo County Airport at 6 p.m. Saturday.

When police arrived, Cofer was found dead, approximately 1 mile southeast of Skydance’s drop zone. His canopy and harness were located the same distance northeast of the landing area.

The cause of death has been listed as multiple blunt force injuries with fractures incurred upon landing, according to a report issued by the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

Cofer, who is said to have worked at the Sky Dive Lodi Parachute Center as a parachute packer, arrived with some friends for Saturday’s skydive. He fell on his second jump of the day.

Friends and fellow skydivers interviewed by the police stated that he was an adept skydiver, with more than 600 jumps’ worth of experience.

It remains unknown how he became detached from his skydiving gear, according to Monday’s report. Yolo County’s Coroner’s Office is completing an autopsy as part of the investigation.

Ray Ferrell, owner of Skydance Skydiving, further noted the unusual circumstances of the accident:

“You actually have to work to climb out of your harness in the way it appears he fell out of it.

“We have video of him in the airplane, and we’ve confirmed that his parachute was on correctly, his harness was on correctly, and the buckles were all tight. We have no understanding of how or why he fell out.”

Skydance Skydiving, which has been in operation since 1987, has never had a situation that matches specifically the details of this tragic event, Farrell added.

Other circumstances have caused accidents in the past at the Davis Skydance Skydiving site, however, and some have resulted in fatalities.

The previous incident was in June 2009, when Kenneth Knigge, a 48-year-old resident of Martinez, plummeted to his death after he became entangled with another skydiver during a group jump.

— Reach Brett Johnson at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett

Brett Johnson

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