South Kingstown, R.I. – December 2, 1973

South Kingstown, Rhode Island – December 2, 1973


     On the afternoon of December 2, 1973, several sky divers were making parachute jumps over the area of the Laurel Lane Golf Course in South Kingston, not far from the Richmond Airport. 

     At about 3:30 p.m. a Cessna 182F took off from the Richmond Airport and climbed to an altitude of 3,000 feet.  At about 3:45 p.m., a 35-year-old man from Westerly, R.I. jumped from the plane but his parachute failed to fully deploy.  Witnesses later stated that he pulled his reserve parachute, but was too low to the ground at the time, and it did not have time to fully deploy to break his fall.  The man was transported to South County Hospital in Wakefield, R.I. where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 


    Providence Journal, “Chute Fails, Jump Kills R.I. Man”, December 3, 1973, page 1.   

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “FAA Probe Set In Fall Of Parachutist”, December 3, 1973, page 2

     Westerly Sun, “Sky Diver Killed As Chute Fails”, December 3, 1973, page 1

North Adams, MA. – September 5, 1921

North Adams, Massachusetts – September 5, 1921


     On September 5, 1921, Eugene M. Stafford of Boston, was scheduled to perform a double parachute drop from his balloon at a fair in North Adams.  Once the balloon had reached an altitude above 1,000 feet, Stafford made his leap, and his first parachute opened successfully.  At 600 feet, he cut away from the first parachute, and attempted to deploy the second, but the harness he was wearing that was attached to both chutes suddenly separated and he fell away.  He fell to the ground and was killed.


     Hartford Courant, (Conn.) “Balloonist Killed Doing Double Parachute Jump”, September 6, 1921

Quincy, MA. – July 17, 1912

Quincy, Massachusetts – July 17, 1912

     On July 17, 1912, 17-year-old aeronaut Lawrence Stafford, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was scheduled to perform a balloon ascension and parachute jump at a place known as Hough’s Neck in the town of Quincy.  Several hundred people had come to witness the event.

     When the balloon had reached an altitude of 2,000 feet Stafford made his jump, but the parachute failed to open.  He landed in shallow water in Quincy Bay and was killed. 


      Hartford Courant, (Conn.), “Parachute Jumper Falls To His Death”, July 18, 1912

North Central Airport, R.I. – September 30, 2002

North Central Airport, R.I. – September 30, 2002

Skydiving Accident

     On September 30, 2002, Suzanne Costa, 35, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, went to North Central State Airport in Smithfield, Rhode Island, to do some skydiving.  This was to be her 17th jump. 

     When Costa jumped, she landed near a Cessna aircraft that was getting ready to take off with other skydivers aboard.  22-year-old Daren Fiske was assisting the skydivers get aboard when he saw Costa land in front of the plane.  Her parachute fell across the spinning prop and she was pulled in.  At the same instant, Fiske tackled Costa and held on as the pilot quickly cut the engine.  

     Although seriously injured, Costa recovered from her injuries.


     Providence Journal, “Skydiver Entangled In Plane’s Propeller”, by Michael Corkery, September 30, 2002

     Boston Herald, “Skydiver Survives Propeller Accident”, by Franci Richardson, October 1, 2002.  



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