Georgia Teen Skydiving for Her First Time Dies Along with Instructor After Chutes Fail to Open

Jeanna Triplicata, 18, was described as a "fearless, loving and beautiful daughter"

Jeanna Renee Triplicata
Jeanna Triplicata. Photo: gofundme

Tragedy struck for a Georgia family over the weekend when a teenager's first skydiving attempt went terribly wrong.

Jeanna Triplicata, 18, chose skydiving as an exciting way to commemorate her recent high school graduation, CNN reported, but she tragically died along with her instructor during their tandem jump Sunday.

Jeanna's family watched on from below as the duo's chutes failed to open and they both plummeted toward the ground, according to CNN.

Jeanna and the instructor, 35-year-old Nick Esposito, were pronounced dead on the scene, Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore told CNN.

Kilgore told CNN that after Jeanna and Esposito jumped from the plane, "the primary parachute failed to open properly and went into a spin." The emergency chute was also deployed at a low altitude, but it also failed to open fully, Kilgore added.

The Upson County Sheriff's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

A GoFundMe campaign was created to help Jeanna's family with funeral expenses.

"PLEASE join us in helping to raise funds for the Triplicata family," wrote campaign organizer Laura Williamson. "Joey and Bridgette tragically lost their eldest daughter Jeanna to a skydiving accident on July 12, 2020, in Thomaston, Georgia."

Williamson described Jeanna as a "fearless, loving and beautiful daughter" and explained that she had been planning on started college this fall at the University of North Georgia to study education.

"While there is nothing that we can do to bring back this sweet soul nor replace her spirit, we are all speechless and looking for a way to support the Triplicata family," she wrote. "These funds will be used to pay for her final farewell and support for her family during their very long painful grieving process. All funds go directly to Bridgette and Joey Triplicata."

According to the United States Parachute Association, skydiving deaths are relatively rare.

There were 15 deaths from skydiving accidents last year, the association reports on its website, out of roughly 3.3 million jumps. Tandem jump accidents are even rarer. The association says that it is more likely a person die from "getting struck by lightning or stung by a bee" than skydiving.

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