UPDATED: Skydiving Mishap Over Lakeland Village Kills Man

Several skydivers were attempting a group maneuver when one got tangled in a parachute, officials said. The victim was 62.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Written by Toni McAllister, posted by Roy Rivenburg

UPDATED May 26 at 10:57 a.m.:

A skydiver who fell into a Lakeland Village backyard and suffered serious injuries Saturday has died, prompting an FAA investigation.

Ken Oka, 62, of Mira Loma was pronounced dead about 30 minutes after he and several other skydivers landed in the residential neighborhood, according to the Riverside County coroner's office. 

Preliminary investigation revealed the skydivers were attempting a multiple-person maneuver when one became tangled in a parachute and couldn't free himself, according to Sgt. David Cardoza of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

Firefighters received a call about a skydiver down in the 19400 block of Sweetwood Lane around 3 p.m., Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman Jody Hagemann said.

Alma Lopez witnessed the commotion in her Lakeland Village neighborhood. She said five or six skydivers landed in the area -- including one on a rooftop and one in her front yard.

"He was hysterical," she said of the man who landed on her property. "He wanted to see his friend," she said.

He knew his friend was seriously hurt or dead, she said.

Lopez drove the man to Sweetwood Lane, where they found Oka in the backyard of a residence. Lopez said CPR was being administered and he was transported via ambulance. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department confirmed Oka was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

"A representative with the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an independent investigation into the death," Cardoza said.  

Oka was not a stranger to the dangers of his sport, at least not according to a 2004 report from the Los Angeles Times. 

Once during a jump, he had a close call in which he and a fellow skydiver had to fly down using only Oka's chute.

"Well, we didn't walk away, but we survived," he told the Times.
Trisha Lynn Dragon May 27, 2013 at 06:06 AM
Still not sure if this sky diving thing is brave YOLO crud or stupid as ****. In either direction my cowardly posterior isn't leaving a plane that is in full working order. If that sucker ain't crashin' I ain't getting off it until the wheels hit the tarmac. Seems like he loved the sport and I'm sure that is going to get his kith and kin through this difficult loss.
Lisa Paulsel Hart May 27, 2013 at 11:24 AM
Although the jumper lost his life, he did so doing something he chose to do. I feel sorry for the poor chaps on the ground whose place he crashed when he landed. It happened to me over 10 years ago and I still can't get the image out of my head. It's like a bad nightmare that won't go away and it's worse than witnessing an auto accident :o(. Bad situation for two parties in this tragedy...
Melodie . May 28, 2013 at 10:33 AM
My two sons grew up in Lake Elsinore and both wanted to skydive...so I let them, over and over, with my heart in my throat each time. I'm so glad they don't want to do it anymore because they both have families who need them. I realize it must be a huge thrill....I do other things for thrills, and I'm still here. Carpe Diem, then take your chances. C'est la vie....R.I.P.
Avery Schlacter August 19, 2013 at 11:10 AM
It's so sad when you hear about things like this happening. I've been thinking about <a href="http://www.skydiveburnaby.com/learn-to-skydive/">skydiving in Toronto</a> but have been hesitant because of incidences like this.


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