ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston has identified the skydiving instructor who died during a jump near Slidell Sunday morning as 58 year old Benjamin Leroy Crowell of Theodore, Alabama.
Crowell was conducting a tandem jump with a student when he lost consciousness, according to witnesses.
A reserve parachute opened but both struck the ground with significant force.
Coroner’s investigators pronounced Crowell dead on the scene, and an autopsy will be conducted Tuesday.
“There is suggestive evidence that Mr. Crowell’s demise was caused before he struck the ground, but we’re not assuming anything at this point,” Preston said. “As always, our forensic investigation will be thorough and precise to determine what led to this man’s untimely death. Regardless of the cause, it is a very unfortunate tragedy for the Crowell family and the community.”
The trainee was airlifted to a hospital in the New Orleans area where their condition is unknown at this time.