Local News

Skydiving Accident Claims Life of DukeStudent

Posted September 25, 1996 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A Duke University graduate student making her first parachute jump died when she missed the drop zone and crashed into a tractor-trailer on a nearby highway, authorities said.

Alison Jean Yount, 27, overshot a field where she was supposed to land Tuesday afternoon and struck the truck, said Trooper Eric Pender.

She was thrown 23 feet into a ditch, Pender said, and was declared dead 90 minutes later at Womack Army Medical Center.

Yount took a seven-hour course before deciding to take a solo jump at Raeford Skydiving Service at the Raeford Airport, according to instructor John Tippy. She could have opted for a tandem jump, with an instructor diving with her.

As she descended, she didn't react properly to two instructors who had jumped with her, said Tippy, who was one of the instructors.

Tippy didn't know what went wrong. ``It's really hard to say. Some people pay attention and some don't. It's a real hard call. It looked like she was trying to land beside the road.''

Yount was unable to control her parachute after it opened, Tippy said.

Pender said Yount lived with her husband in Durham.

The accident is the second fatality this year linked to a skydiving company at the airport. On April 27, a 14-year-old girl was killed when she stepped off an airplane and walked into the propeller. That plane was owned by Freefall Express, a skydiving company.