FAA: Skydiving instructor killed during jump near Casa Grande

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after a skydiving instructor was killed during a jump near Casa Grande.

FAA officials say the incident happened Friday around noon. A male instructor and a female student were performing a tandem jump. The instructor was killed and the student hospitalized.

The Casa Grande Airport manager says the plane carrying the skydivers took off at 10:15 a.m. and the incident happened around 11:00 a.m. The two landed northeast of Interstate 10 on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

"We lost a skydiver somewhere northeast of the airfield, haven't been able to find them," a man was heard saying on an audio recording of radio traffic from Casa Grande Airport.

Radio traffic indicates the pilot, who is with the Phoenix Skydive Center, flew low over the desert looking for signs of the instructor and student on the ground. Other pilots joined the search. Meanwhile, a friend of the Mesa woman who survived the jump told FOX 10 the parachute deployed while they were inside the plane, and the pair fell several thousand feet. The student was badly hurt, but was able to walk to a rest area off the I-10 to find help.

The woman reportedly told family and friends that her skydiving instructor was new to the company, and it was his first jump in the United States.

FAA officials, meanwhile, released the following statement:

Meanwhile, relatives of the woman who survived the jump said she suffered a broken collarbone and spinal injuries, but is out of the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. They said the instructor broke the woman's fall.

FOX 10 has reached out to Skydive Coastal California, the parent company of Phoenix Skydive Center, but officials refused to comment.