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Skydiver dies after 'swooping' stunt; bystander is hit but survives

October 14, 2013|By Michael Muskal

A 53-year-old Michigan woman survived being hit by a skydiver who died over the weekend doing a stunt, officials said.

The unidentified woman, who was standing on the ground, was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said in a news release that was reported by the Associated Press. The incident happened in Ray Township, about 30 miles northeast of Detroit.

The dead skydiver was identified as Kenneth R. Bernek of nearby Waterford, police told reporters over the weekend.

Randy Allison, the parachute club’s manager, told the New York Daily News that Bernek, 34, was “swooping,” a practice of flying low and at high speed. He reportedly had done about 1,800 dives over the last 15 years.

“The dive that he executed was a little too low and as a result he impacted the ground prematurely,” Allison was quoted as saying. 

The woman Bernek hit just was standing just outside the landing zone, the newspaper reported.

According to police, Bernek jumped about 6:20 p.m. on Saturday. He “started falling out of control, struck a tree, then collided into a person standing on the ground,” Shaw said.

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