An experienced skydiver and former Army Ranger died this week after he attempted to avoid another jumper during a landing in Florida, his team announced.
Christian Stevens, 49, of Canton, Georgia, was at the Skydive Sebastian center Monday morning with professional jumping group Team Fastrax when they decided to perform a routine called a nine-way diamond — timed with the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the team posted to Facebook.
Stevens named the jump “Falcon9” in honor of the launch, TCPalm.com reported.
Stevens, an instructor who had about 20 years of skydiving experience, was avoiding another jumper when he hit the ground “at a high rate of speed,” Sebastian Police Department spokesman Lt. Timothy Wood told the outlet.
He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, Wood said.
Police, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, are investigating the incident, Wood added.
“Christian was a solid American that served our nation as an Army Ranger, a loving Father, a devoted Husband and a Teammate that was our Brother,” the team posted. “We love you Christian Stevens!”
Team Fastrax, dubbed “America’s Skydiving Team,” is the only civilian parachute demonstration team to have performed over Ground Zero, the Pentagon, Independence Hall and the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, according to its website.