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Georgia teen, veteran instructor die in tandem skydiving accident

Jeanna Triplicata, 18, is shown in this handout photo from a family friend. Laura Williamson/GoFundMe

A Georgia teenager died while trying to scratch skydiving off her bucket list, in a tandem accident that also killed her veteran instructor on Sunday.

Jeanna Triplicata, 18, was celebrating her high school graduation when she signed up for a tandem jump with Skydive Atlanta, her family says. Her parents and siblings were watching as the flight took off from an airport near Thomaston, Ga., on Sunday.

They saw Triplicata and her instructor, Nick Esposito, 35, jump from the plane in a dive that quickly went wrong.

“Upon exiting the aircraft, the primary parachute failed to open properly and went into a spin,” Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore told CNN.

He says the pair deployed an emergency chute at a low altitude but it never fully opened.

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Triplicata and Esposito were pronounced dead at the scene.

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Local officials and the Federal Aviation Authority are investigating the accident.

“We want to know what happened,” Triplicata’s grandmother, Renee Sands, told WSBTV in Atlanta. “We understand it’s going to take some time, you know, for investigating. We just have to wait.”

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Triplicata had recently graduated from high school and was looking forward to starting teacher’s college at the University of North Georgia next month, her mother Bridgette Triplicata told WSBTV. She added that the skydiving trip was part of her daughter’s post-graduation celebration.

“When she turned 18 that was what she wanted to do,” Bridgette Triplicata said. “She was not scared at all.”

Triplicata and her grandmother were both doing tandem jumps on Sunday.

Jeanna Triplicata, left, and grandmother Renee Sands are shown before a skydiving accident in Georgia on July 12, 2020. Bridgette Sands Triplicata/Facebook

“They jumped and mom’s landing was perfect, she had a blast,” Bridgette Triplicata wrote on Facebook. “But Jeanna’s didn’t come down when she was supposed to and where we could see her.

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“Tragically, we lost our oldest daughter.”

Friends of the Triplicata family have launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for Jeanna’s funeral.

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