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2 die in sky-diving accident near Lodi

Two men die in tandem skydiving accident near Lodi

August 2016: San Joaquin Sheriff's Sgt. Brandon Riley confirmed the deaths of two men during a tandem jump at the Parachute Center in Acampo.
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August 2016: San Joaquin Sheriff's Sgt. Brandon Riley confirmed the deaths of two men during a tandem jump at the Parachute Center in Acampo.

Two men died Saturday morning during a tandem sky dive arranged through the Parachute Center in Acampo.

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 10 a.m. about the accident near the Parachute Center, said Sgt. Brandon Riley.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident, Riley said. The victims’ identities have not yet been released.

Parachute Center owner Bill Dause declined to comment Saturday afternoon at his facility about 5 miles north of Lodi.

Chris Conkright, 55, of Acampo said he did three tandem sky dives Saturday, all after hearing about the fatal incident.

“I’m not happy about it, but it’s part of the deal, I guess,” said Conkright, who has jumped at the center for 21 years.

“I know too many people who have died parachuting,” he added. “You’re jumping out of a plane. It’s part of the territory.”

Federal authorities investigated a plane crash at the center in May in which no one was injured. The Federal Aviation Administration has twice challenged the center and proposed fines, alleging it had not maintained a plane and otherwise failed to follow regulations. Dause denied those previous allegations.

Professional skier Timy Dutton died while sky-diving at the Parachute Center in 2014. His parachute didn’t open, according to media reports.

Conkright vouched for the center.

“They’re great,” he said. “It’s a good operation – good equipment, good staff. I don’t know what happened exactly (Saturday).”

READ: Feds launch probe of sky-diving plane crash in Acampo vineyard

Watch as a plane full of skydivers flips over and crashes and the skydivers escape the plane. Sebastian Alvarez was on the Cessna 208, wearing a helmet camera and capturing dramatic moments as the plane crashed in a Lodi vineyard, clipping a grape

Sammy Caiola: 916-321-1636, @SammyCaiola

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