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Newport Beach Woman Killed in Skydiving Accident

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Brooke Baum, 33, of Newport Beach, died in a December 26, 2008 skydiving accident after her parachute failed to fully deploy during a jump at a popular skydiving center in Perris. According to this news report in The Orange County Register, Baum jumped out of an airplane at 12,500 feet above the Perris Valley Skydiving facility at Perris Valley Airport. Family members and friends said Baum was an experienced skydiver.

My heart goes out to the family of Brooke Baum for their tragic loss. I offer my deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved this young woman. Please keep them in your prayers.

According to this newspaper report, Brooke Baum’s is the third accident involving skydivers since July and the fifth since March 2005 at this Perris skydiving facility. Baum’s friends, who were there with her at the time, are puzzled about why her parachute did not open. By the time the reserve chute opened, it was too late for Baum. Her friends also said she didn’t seem to have any medical condition and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the accident.

It is very important to find out how and why this horrible tragedy occurred. Skydiving deaths, although widely publicized, are rare in the United States. According to the U.S. Parachute Association, its members held 2.2 million jumps in 2007 and 18 deaths occurred nationwide. If I were one of Baum’s friends or family members, I would want to know if there was something wrong with the parachute. I would definitely want that parachute preserved in its current, unopened condition so it can be carefully examined by an expert for defects.

Every parachute that is provided to skydivers is required to be tested before it is strapped on to the person. Baum’s parachute may not have opened because of a product or design defect. If that is the case, then the product manufacturer could be held liable. If the Perris Valley Skydiving Center failed to adequately test or maintain these parachutes, then they could be held responsible. I’m curious about how well the standards and procedures were followed for testing the primary and reserve parachutes in this skydiving accident, especially because this is the third accident in the last five months.

I’d urge Baum’s family to contact a reputed Orange County personal injury lawyer, who is experienced in successfully dealing with wrongful death claims and product liability claims. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to determine who or what caused the accident, hold the negligent parties responsible and secure fair compensation for the victim’s family.

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  • A Skydiver

    The author is incorrect regarding the roles and responsibilities of the participants of skydiving. The individual skydiver supplies his own parachute. Perris Valley Skydiving Center does not provide the equipment. Also, there is no requirement to test the parachute prior to each jump. An inspection and repack of the reserve parachute is required every 180 days by a certificated parachute rigger, but again that is the responsibility of the user of the parachute (the skydiver) to ensure. Perris Valley Skydiving Center requires each jumper to show proof of compliance for the reserve inspection and repack. Accidents do happen and all too often it is jumper error in not responding correctly or quickly to an emergency situation that causes the fatal outcome.

  • Dave

    This is such a tragic event. I went to school with Brooke and she was a very good classmate. My heart goes out to Brooke’s family.

  • another Skydiver

    Hey smart guy, I parachuted at Parris. They supplied me with the parachute and never even mentioned anything about me checking it.

  • Skydiver00

    Unless you are a skydiver, you shouldnt even be posting on here because you have no idea what you are talking about. She had her own gear, which means it was up to HER to do her own gear check, make sure her reserve re-pack is current, and to properly follow emergency procedures during cut-away. If you are a student, and rent student gear from a dz, more than likely an experienced staff member will do a pre-jump gear check for you. So, I just want to make it clear that every jumper knows the risks, but jump anyway. Parachute company’s will not be sued for malfunctions because in the skydiving world its not IF you have a malfunction it is WHEN you have a malfunction, and you had better follow proper emergency procedures or things like this happen.

  • Master Parachute Rigger

    OK:

  • Brian McArthur

    I have been skydiving for 15 years. I appreciate the posts on this site from other skydivers. I understand this attorney’s attempt to try to bring attention to laws surrounding personal injury, but I agree with the skydivers’ posts. It is regrettable that this fatality occurred, but death/serious injury is a well publicized potential consequence of skydiving. Ms. Baum was well aware of this, I am sure. She absolutely was jumping her own gear, and it should be noted that Perris Valley is one of the top 5 busiest drop zones in the nation and likely the world, so accidents are likely to occur there more often because more people jump there.

  • Doug Moriarity

    Wow, as a friend of Brooke’s and a fellow skydiver I am exteremely upset at losing such a wonderful friend and dedicated skydiver. I am completely disgusted that a moron lawyer is trying to make money off of her untimely death. We skydivers understand the risks we are taking and freely sign and are videoed giving up any rights to sue if something goes wrong. We take full responsibility for the risks we take in order to enjoy the most wonderful sport ever developed. In 36 years of skydiving I have had two malfunctions. Both were my fault. The equipment is well tested and very safe, but malfunctions can and do happen. Usually these malfunctions turn out to be more of a nuisance than a serious problem. I jumped with Brooke when she had her first malfunction and everthing turned out fine. Please find somewhere else to drum-up business. I know Brooke wouldn’t want her family to try to blame anyone else.

  • Hi

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