Chester County coroner: Midair collision killed skydiver

Bond Springer of Boca Raton, Fla., posted this picture to his Facebook page on May 7.
Bond Springer of Boca Raton, Fla., posted this picture to his Facebook page on May 7.

The Florida man killed during a skydiving jump over Chester County on Saturday died from his midair collision with a second skydiver, according to the Chester County Coroner’s Office.

Bond Springer, 32, of Boca Raton, Fla., died of blunt force trauma, Coroner Terry Tinker said Monday. Springer’s death will be ruled an accident, Tinker said.

Springer was skydiving over Chester County around 7:10 p.m. Saturday when he collided in midair with a second skydiver, officials said.

Tinker said that collision is what killed Springer.

“He never knew anything after he hit the other skydiver,” Tinker said.

The second skydiver landed when his parachute deployed, and he was transported by EMS with a broken leg. Rescue crews were called to look for Springer before suspending their search Saturday night because of inclement weather. They resumed the search early Sunday and found Springer’s body in a wooded area not far from the Chester County airport.

While investigators treat any location in which a body is found as a crime scene, Chief Deputy Robert Sprouse of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office said foul play isn’t suspected in Springer’s death.

Officials have not said whether Springer’s parachute deployed. The Federal Aviation Administration has a role in the investigation but is only examining how the parachute was packed and prepared.

“The FAA’s role in investigating parachute-jumping accidents is limited to inspecting the parachute equipment and packing,” a spokeswoman said Monday. “Our investigation is ongoing.”

Sheriff’s investigators in a news release described Springer as an experienced skydiver.

“We knew he would probably be hurt, so we were planning on coming up there (to South Carolina),” Springer’s mother told The Herald’s news partner, WSOC-TV. “But this is a different coming home now.”

Brighton Springer, 30, told The Sun Sentinel in Florida that her brother had completed more than 1,000 parachute jumps.

“He traveled all over world to skydive, collecting friends, connecting with people,” she said. “He built a legacy for himself.”

Bond Springer was wearing a wingsuit during the fatal attempt Saturday, officials said.

“They (wingsuits) add complexity to the sky dive and they add speed,” said Jim Crouch, director of safety and training at the United States Parachute Association. “Anytime you add speed, it increases the risk.”

Under the association’s guidelines, a skydiver is required to have 200 jumps before diving in a wingsuit at a USPA site.

Crouch says there have been 11 wingsuit fatalities out of 428 total skydiving fatalities in the U.S. since 1999. In 2014, the association estimates that there were 3.2 million skydiving jumps.

A Skydive Carolina representative said in a statement over the weekend that no equipment malfunction is believed to have occurred, and on Monday referred a reporter to that statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Bond and our thoughts go out to his family,” a spokesperson said in an email Monday. “During this challenging time, we feel the best way to honor Bond’s life is to do so privately as a community.”

Keith Larsen of The Charlotte Observer contributed

Teddy Kulmala: 803-329-4082, @teddy_kulmala

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