28-Year-Old Skydiver Dies After She Crashes Into Big Rig on Highway in Windy Weather
Witnesses said they saw the woman struggling against the wind before crashing into the trailer on Thursday
A 28-year-old woman died on Thursday after crash-landing onto a big rig trailer on a busy Northern California highway, authorities say.
The woman was parachuting with a group when she collided with the rear of the trailer during her descent near the Lodi Airport in San Joaquin County, California Highway Patrol said in a statement. She crashed into the right-hand shoulder of the trailer and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I see the whole top of that guy’s trailer. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Wow!’ ” San Joaquin County resident Eric Mello told KCRA. “I feel bad for the driver and the families. It’s terrible.”
California Highway Patrol confirms the incident to PEOPLE, saying that troopers responded to the scene around 2:15 p.m. CHP spokesperson Ruben Jones says the woman’s parachute was open when they arrived at the scene. He says authorities have “no idea” what could have caused the crash.
A spokesperson for the San Joaquin County Coroner’s Office says the office has not been able to identify the woman or get in touch with her family. However, Jones says the woman was from Colombia.
Conditions were windy and one witness told KCRA her father and brother saw the crash while traveling north on the highway.
“They’re really traumatized by what they saw right now, and my dad said he never wants to see anything like that again,” Lisa Reyes told KCRA.
“The way the person was struggling, just struggling against the wind and their body was just moving really, really fast,” she added. “That’s what really kind of got [to] him.”
The deceased and a group of seven people took off from the Lodi Parachute Center that afternoon, and the six others survived, CNN reported.
Several drivers told KCRA that they often see parachutists swerving over the highway before landing safely in a large, grassy area nearby.
“It’s not very safe,” Rick Costa said.
Jeff Skadburg added: “It’s a weird place to have the drop zone, I would say. You see them coming down and someone always swings around and it looks like they’re gonna land on the freeway and they don’t — normally.”
Officials with Lodi Parachute Center declined to comment, but have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. PT.