January 1st, 2012 Dr. T. Elaine McLaughlin passed away due to trauma sustained after a low cutaway followed by reserve deployed too late to inflate. The incident took place at Skydive City, Zephyrhills, FL.
Dr. T. Elaine was 60 years old and an active and current skydiver in Z-Hills. After deploying her parachute (a Spectre 120 in a Javelin container) at a normal altitude, her canopy was observed to be turning, followed by a very low cutaway. Reserve was deployed manually but did not have enough time to inflate. Sources from the dropzone estimate cutaway hight at approximately 700 ft and reserve activation at approximately 400 ft.
It is not known why the cutaway was performed so low. Details of the accident are still under investigation.
We send our sincere condolences to her family and friends in Z-Hills. Memorial services have already taken place. Her obituary in the Tampa Bay Times can be found here.