Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Newport skydiver's death investigated

        CONNERSVILLE, Ind. — Federal Aviation Administration officials are completing an investigation into the death of a Newport woman during an accidentSaturday at a skydiving school here.

        Charissa Marie Nicely, 24, was killed when her primary and reserve chutes failed to open as she was performing her first jump from 5,000 feet. She had made nine previous jumps from lower altitudes, said her husband, Vincent Turner.

        Connersville Detective Sgt. David Spencer said police conducted the initial investigation. “We turned the investigation over to the FAA office in Indianapolis,” he said.

        Attempts to reach FAA investigators in Indianapolis on Monday were unsuccessful.

        Witnesses told police that Ms. Nicely's primary chute did not open at 3,000 feet, and that it appeared she made no attempt to pull the handle to release her back-up chute.

        Jumpmaster Lance White told police that Ms. Nicely was the first of four skydivers to jump from a plane and went into a spin while reaching for the parachute rip cord.

        She raised her arms to come out of the spin but went into another spin when she attempted to pull the cord again, Mr. White told police.

        The other three jumpers landed safely.

        The back-up chute is supposed to open automatically at 1,000 feet if it is not released manually, but it failed to do so.

        An employee at Jumpin' Indiana, the skydiving school, said Ms. Nicely's equipment had been checked before she went up for the dive.

        Ms. Nicely was a nurse with Fresenius Dialysis Clinic in Norwood and a recent graduate of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.


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