Investigators: Skydiving instructor died a 'hero' - FOX 13 News

Investigators: Skydiving instructor died a 'hero'

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Orvar Arnarson Orvar Arnarson
ZEPHYRHILLS (FOX 13) -

Investigators with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday the skydiving instructor who was killed during a jump in Zephyrhills over the weekend died trying to save a student, who was also killed in the fall.

Detectives said they made the determination after reviewing video from a small camera that was mounted to the teacher's helmet that recorded the entire jump.

"He was a hero," Detective Bill Lindsey said of Orvar Arnarson. "He died a hero."

Arnarson, 41, and the student, Andrimar Pordarson, 25, were on a skydiving trip from Iceland to Skydive City. Investigators said the student made no attempt to deploy his main parachute and didn't try to help Arnarson's effort to pull the rip cord that would have activated the main chute.

They are trying to determine whether Pordarson somehow blacked out during the dive; Lindsey said it was impossible to see in the video if that was the case.

"Although I've not seen this video myself, hearing the graphic nature of what occurred, it's tragic what happened to these two individuals," Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

T.K. Hayes, Skydive City's General Manager, said it's unlikely the student would have lost consciousness but not impossible.

"It's still a possibility and I wouldn't be able to know that unless I watched the video and even then I might not know," Hayes said.

Nocco said the sheriff's office will not release the video. The FAA is currently looking at the equipment used during the fatal jump, including the reserve parachutes that opened automatically, but were not enough to save their lives.

The skydiving community was still in disbelief three days after the incident.

"It's very tragic, of course, that anybody dies," said Manfred Radius, a veteran skydiver. "This is an unforgiving sport. It has, actually, a pretty good safety record. It's just, you cannot make a mistake."

Radius said detectives used the right word when describing the instructor's actions.

"The instructor tried to save the student and he died in the process, so he died a hero."

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