Parachutist died after skydive went wrong, inquest hears

Pamela Gower.
Pamela Gower.

An inquest has heard a parachutist died after her skydive from 15,000ft went tragically wrong.

Pamela Gower had problems with her parachute and landed on a parked car on a housing estate close to Peterlee Parachute Centre on Saturday, September 10, and was taken to hospital by air ambulance, where she died from her injuries.

The 49-year-old from Hebburn, who had dwarfism, had described herself as a “crazy trainee skydiver” and has taken part in the extreme sport several times before.

On the day of her tragic death, she had gone up in a plane from Shotton Airfield, with her fall happening a short distance away in Weldon Close.

An inquest into her death, held in Crook, led coroner Andrew Tweddle to record a conclusion of misadventure.

Mr Tweddle is to write to the British Parachute Association (BPA) to request a review of whether new rules are need about the amount of time between jumps carried out by skydivers, which is being considered by the association.

Pamela’s death sparked an investigation by the British Parachute Association (BPA), on behalf of the Civil Aviation Authority, with the association working in conjunction with Durham Constabulary on the inquiry.

In the aftermath of the incident, the BPA’s safety and training committee heard Pamela, who worked for Remploy, had previously attended a meeting to ensure her adapted equipment was cleared for use in the UK, after previously being used in Spain.

After her fall, the board was told two BPA instructors arrived on the scene within minutes and were praised for trying to save Pamela using CPR.

After her death, her parents, Catherine and Len, said on behalf of the family: “Pamela was a great girl who was loved by her family so much and was a wonderful daughter and sister.”

They said she was a “very determined and independent woman who let nothing get in her way” and they were proud of her, adding their thanks to all those who tried to save her.

The family statement added: ““Our mam always told Pamela how proud she was of her, as was the rest of our family. We will remember how she always saw the funny side of things, just like her ‘Da’.

“She often asked her ‘Da’ who was his favourite, and he used to say ‘you were the best of a bad bunch!’ as there were five children. She will be a huge miss as she was loved by everybody.”