New details emerge about fatal skydiving accident in Monroe County

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SMITHFIELD TOWSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A 74-year-old man from New Jersey is dead after a horrific skydiving accident Sunday in Monroe County.

Edward Harney of Paramus, New Jersey, died Sunday afternoon, shortly after he jumped out of a plane to sky dive.

“He came out of the plane with a couple other skydivers at 14,000 feet. At 5,000 feet is when they all broke apart from each other to deploy their chutes and Mr. Harney’s chute did not deploy,” said Trooper Kenneth Byers, Pennsylvania State Police.

Police say it appeared as though Harney’s first parachute opened, but then he began to spiral until his parachute separated and he fell into the woods.

State police later located Harney’s body. Trooper Byers says the parachute was found in a different location.

His friends told police, Harney was an experienced sky diver as Sunday’s jump was his 800th. It was also not his first time jumping with the Stroudsburg based Sky’s the Limit Inc. His friends also told police Harney’s jumping gear had recently been serviced.

Trooper Byers says this is the first time he has heard of a skydiving accident in the area.

“It’s a freak accident for sure. It’s very uncommon. The FAA is doing their part in the investigation as well.”

On Facebook, Sky’s the Limit staff wrote: “Yesterday was a very sad day. We lost a member of our skydiving family. Goodbye to one of the most beautiful gentlemen Sky’s the Limit, had the pleasure of knowing for many years and was honored to be a apart of his life. Our hearts, prayers and thoughts are with his family. Blue skies, we will miss you very much. Many thanks to everyone who has reached out with love and support.”

The Monroe County Coroner says that Harney’s cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries from the fall. 

The Federal Aviation Administration tells Eyewitness News investigations of skydiving events are limited to inspecting the packing of the parachute, as well as reserve parachute. They also look at the rules of flight for the pilot and aircraft. It does not determine the cause of the accident.

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