Ken Oka was a well renowned formation skydiver; the 62 year old veteran had taken part in formation skydiving for years. However, a complication during a dive lead Ken Oka to getting his chute wrapped around himself, and he wasn’t able to get untangled before plummeting to his death.
The maneuver involved multiple divers, two of which landed safely in a Riverside County, California residential neighborhood. The two men landed in the yard of Alma Lopez, who said they were beside themselves and were immediately looking for Oka. They called 911, and began searching for their friend in the neighborhood. He was eventually found and taken to a hospital, where he later passed away.
Oka was featured in the LA-Times years ago for his formation diving, where he explained what it’s all about, “You literally wrap your foot in your teammate’s parachute line and you try to fly this [formation] very uniformly together”
Sgt. David Cardoza of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department stated that the FAA would open an investigation, finding out what caused the incident.
Oka was the second person to die in formation skydiving in the area this year, and the 18th person from the past 20 years.
Below you can see how big skydiving formations can get, and just how precise you have to be to make sure it all goes safely.