Parachuter Dies in Skydiving Accident
On Sunday afternoon, April 1, 2012, at approximately 4:20 p.m., the Lee County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a resident living near FM 696, approximately 2 ½ miles east of Lexington, who witnessed a skydiver jump from a plane experiencing parachute problems. The caller reported that the skydiver’s parachute was not fully deployed and wanted the Sheriff’s Office to have EMS on standby.
Cindy Gibson, owner and operator of the Texas Skydiving Center in Lexington, said, “The incident occurred at about 4:15 Sunday afternoon. The jumper had a fully opened parachute after deployment at about 4,000 feet, but then, at about 2000 feet, was observed to have his main pilot chute wrapped around the right end cell of his canopy, producing a spin and a high rate of descent.”
She continued, “The jumper, John Roznovsky, 61 from Austin, cut away from his main parachute at an altitude of about 100 feet and died from injuries sustained during the landing.”
“No one saw what maneuver caused the pilot chute to interfere with the end cell, nor do we know why he did not initiate emergency procedures earlier. John had jumped at our school several times and was an experienced jumper who had at least 10 to 12 previous jumps.”
Roznovsky landed in an open field west of the Texas Skydiving Center and suffered fatal injuries. Lexington EMS, B& M Ambulance, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Life Flight were dispatched to the facility, along with the Lexington Volunteer Fire Department; however, the skydiver died at the scene and Life Flight was cancelled.
Lee County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Nick Hester was notified and held the inquest and called for an autopsy.
The Sheriff ’s investigation revealed that the main parachute did not deploy properly, sending the parachute in a spinning motion. The parachute and other items were collected by the Sheriff’s Office for evidence.
The deceased was taken to Phillips & Luckey Funeral Home in Giddings and transferred to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office. The FAA was contacted to conduct tests on the parachute. The investigation is ongoing.
Gibson said that jumpers usually jump at about 11,000 feet, free fall for a period of time and then deploy their chute at about 4,000 to 5,000 feet.
Gibson said, “The Skydiving Center is saddened by this incident and our deepest sympathies are with John’s family. We have been in business for 15 years and this is our first fatality.”