2 Skydivers Killed in Collision Were Part of a Jump With 200 People

PHOTO: Two skydivers have died after a mid-air collusion, Dec. 3, 2013, in Eloy, Ariz.
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What was supposed to be a week of extreme skydiving fun in Arizona for hundreds of experienced jumpers turned deadly when two men collided in mid-air and then plummeted to their deaths.

An investigation is being conducted by the Eloy Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine what caused the two men, who were described as experienced skydivers, to collide during a 200-person jump on Tuesday afternoon.

The victims were identified today as Keiron O'Rourke, 40, of the United Kingdom, and Bernd Schmehl, 51, of Germany, Eloy Police Sgt. Brian Jerome told ABCNews.com.

Schmehl logged 1,707 career jumps while O'Rourke had 849 under his belt, Jerome said.

Witnesses told police the men somehow collided with their parachutes open approximately 200 to 300 feet above the ground. Following the collision, their parachute canopies collapsed and both individuals plummeted to the ground, Jerome said.

A third skydiver also suffered injuries, but Jerome said it was not related to or caused by the collision between the other two skydivers.

Schmehl was pronounced dead on scene and O'Rourke died at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center, Jerome said.

The mens' families have been notified, he said, and their bodies are now at the Pinal County Medical Examiner's Office pending autopsies.

Skydive Arizona opened in 1978 and averages over 135,000 jumps per year, according to their website.

Last weekend, 63 women set the world record for an all-female mass-formation jump over Eloy. The women jumped head-first out of a plane and joined hands 18,000 feet up in a vertical formation, said Nancy Koreen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Parachute Association. They all landed safely.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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