5-1-05 - Tragedy hit the skies over Skydive Dallas near Whitewright Sunday afternoon. A 55 year old Dallas man who was an experienced skydiver made his last jump over Fannin County.
On Monday, Skydive Dallas released this statement:
On Sunday, May 1, at approximately 2:00 pm, John Appleton of Dallas, TX jumped from a DeHavilland Twin Otter at approximately 13,500'. After a normal free fall skydive, he deployed his main parachute. When the main parachute did not inflate properly, John initiated emergency procedures, which include releasing the main parachute before deploying the reserve parachute.
For reasons, currently unknown, the main parachute did not release properly and became entangled with the reserve parachute. This resulted in a hard landing.
Whitewright EMT unit, Trenton Volunteer Fire Department and Fannin County Sheriff Dept. responded to the accident. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Fannin County Justice of the Peace, Allan Hale.
According to Joe Rekart, the general manager at Skydive Dallas, "There's an inherent amount of risk in skydiving, as with all action adventure sports. It's especially difficult for us to accept this fact when an accident happens to someone such as John Appleton. He was well known and liked throughout the skydiving community, here in Dallas, nationally, and even internationally. John was on the World Team in Thailand that accomplished a word record 357 jumper formation skydive. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and loved ones."
Skydive Dallas, located about 40 minutes Northeast of Plano in Whitewright, is a United States Parachute Association Group Member, and is the largest skydiving center in the Dallas area. They performed over 35,000 skydives at that location last year.
Appleton's body has been sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.