Police have released the name of a skydiver who died after jumping from a plane and crashing through the roof of a Port Aransas condominium off Beach Access Road 1A on Thursday, March 25.
The man was identified as Peter Gerencser, a 34-year-old Hungarian national.
Port Aransas Police Chief Scott Burroughs said his department received a 911 call reporting that a skydiver had crashed through the roof of a building on Access Road 1A shortly after 11 a.m.
Police found that the skydiver had crashed through the roof of an unoccupied rental condominium, a two-story structure, Burroughs said.
The unit was at Gulfside Beach Condos, at Beach Access Road 1A and 11th Street.
Gerencser was alive, but severely injured, police said. Port Aransas firefighters used an aerial platform truck to extend a ladder to the roof. Emergency personnel found the skydiver in the attic and brought him out through the hole he created when he hit the roof, Burroughs said.
Gerencser then was put in a stretcher-like device and lowered to the ground with a cable attached to the fire truck's hydraulic ladder. EMS personnel provided aid that included cardiopulmonary resuscitation for at least 30 minutes, but Gerencser was pronounced dead at the scene, Burroughs said.
A HALO Flight medical helicopter that had been called to the scene left without transporting the man after he was pronounced dead.
Gerencser was a professional skydiver employed by Skydive Atlas, police said. The skydiver was trying to parachute into a field just east of the condominium, Burroughs said.
The accident victim was one of 10 skydivers involved in a jump made from altitude of about 14,000 feet, Burroughs said.
"By all indications, the parachute properly deployed initially, but failed just seconds before impact," Burroughs said.
A news release issued by PAPD Lt. Darryl Johnson stated that a Sky Dive Atlas official on the scene said the victim was filming a tandem skydive with nine other skydivers. The release identified the official as John Lanfor.
"Mr. Lanfor stated that the victim was an experienced skydiver with over 10,000 jumps," the release said. "Mr. Lanfor advised that the victim was performing a hook-turn maneuver and was near the condominium, and it was his belief that air turbulence from the gusting wind interacting with the condominium structure partially collapsed the victim's parachute, which in turn caused him to impact the condominium roof at a high rate of descent."
Johnson said winds were gusting up to 23 mph.
Burroughs said PAPD and the Federal Aviation Administration would investigate the incident.
(Witness accounts of the accident will be in the print edition of the South Jetty that's published April 1.)