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Safety is a top priority during skydiving championships in Arizona

(Photo by: Martin Lemay/USPA)

For skydivers who train for months preparing for the national championships, safety is always on top of the mind.

The U.S. Parachute Association’s National Skydiving Championships of Artistic Events and Formation Skydiving is taking place through Oct. 29 at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. Three skydivers have fallen to their deaths at that site over a month and a half span between Dec. 2015 and Feb. 2016. Another skydiver fell to his death back in Aug. at Skydive Phoenix in Maricopa.

Nancy Koreen, spokeswoman for the U.S. Parachute Association, said safety is a top priority during the championships. She said the experienced skydivers have extensively trained for this event.

“Safety is almost like a natural reaction,” Koreen explained. “It’s so deeply rooted in what they do.”

She stated that skydivers are sure to check their gear before jumping and safety officers are on the ground monitoring the landing zone.

“Obviously jumping out of a plane is a high-risk activity,” Koreen said. “We have safety and training measures in place to make it as safe as possible.”

Koreen added that when skydiving deaths do happen, it’s human error 99 percent of the time. Koreen insisted that skydivers go through extensive safety training, so even if the main parachute does not work, they know how to deploy the backup.

Koreen said this event in Eloy is their biggest event of the year, and jumpers can fall as fast as 200 miles per hour.

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