Skydiving Instructor Falls to Death in Louisa County

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

May 31, 2006

An 49-year-old man and experienced skydiver fell to his death this weekend after a skydiving accident in Louisa County.

Patrick McNamera was first to jump Saturday at Louisa airport, and sheriffs said he overestimated the landing.

“The dive went very good until the last 40 or 50 feet,” explained Major Don Lowe of the Louisa County Sheriffs Department.

McNamera was making a routine jump, something he has done thousands of time before and witnesses said something went wrong and he fell forty feet to his death.

Those on the plane and on the ground told sheriffs the Skydive Virginia instructor tried to make a sharp turn too late in the jump.

“The maneuver he made caused the chute to collapse, said Sgt. Poindexter who responded to the accident.

“He just didn't land right, instead of landing on his feet he landed on the front part of his body,” commented another responding officer.

Mcnamera died at the scene.

“They tried everything they could to save him but it was beyond any kind of help that they could give,” said Lowe.

The 49-year-old made his first jump in 1980 from an air force cargo jet and had been jumping ever since. Last year he was involved in another skydiving accident but miraculously survived.

“It involved a tandem jump where you have an instructor and a student tied together coming down. They had an accident and one fell on top of the other,” recalled Lowe.

That student died and it was a long road to recovery for McNamera. Yet, this time he wasn't so lucky. Still, friends said there's some consolation knowing he died doing what made him happiest.

Skydive Virginia said they will place a memorial for McNamera at the Louisa airport.

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