Skydive instructor Orvar Arnarson, 41, died tragically on Saturday after trying to deploy his student’s parachute before his own. Both Arnarson and the man he tried to save, Andrimar Pordarson, 25, died from injuries they sustained after the 13,000-foot fall in Zephyrhills, Florida.
Based on helmet camera footage, police pieced together the story. After the two men jumped from the plane, Pordarson was unable to pull the chord on his parachute. When Arnarson realized what was happening, he desperately tried to release Pordarson’s chute before deploying his own.
Although Pordarson and Arnarson had backup parachutes, designed to deploy if the main parachutes didn't open in time, they did not fully inflate before the men hit the ground.
When the pair did not return from their jump, the local sheriff’s department began a search. After nine hours, the bodies of Pordarson and Arnarson were found in a wooded area near Zephyrhills Municipal Airport—about one mile from the men’s intended landing spot.
Pasco County Sheriff Det. William Lindsey, who reviewed the video, said it was "hard to watch" and called Arnarson "a hero."
“The video shows the instructor and the student in the airplane together. It shows them exit the airplane, it shows the free fall… It appears that the student doesn’t pull his primary parachute and the instructor attempts to assist until the conclusion of the video,” he told ABC. The release of the video is prohibited by Florida law, as it shows the death of the two men.
The accident occurred after two other successful jumps that morning. Pordarson and Arnarson were visiting Florida while on vacation from Iceland.
In 2012, there were 19 skydiving fatalities out of a total 3.1 million jumps in the United States, according to the United States Parachute Association.