A 29-year-old Canadian Forces medic plunged to her death Sunday when her parachute malfunctioned during a solo jump.
Upper Ottawa Valley OPP confirmed that Betiana Namambwe Mubili, known to friends and family as Bety, suffered fatal injuries after an unspecified problem with her parachute. She landed in a field off Black Bay Road near the Pembroke Airport.
The woman’s father, Viktor Mubili, posted a picture of his daughter in military uniform, writing on Facebook, “(Bety) is no more — went to be with the Lord August 27, 2017.”
Paramedics rushed Mubili to the hospital but she died soon after.
On a social media profile, Mubili listed her occupation as a medic with the Department of National Defence, and wrote that she trained as an advanced-care paramedic at Justice Institute of British Columbia. She listed her hometown as Etobicoke, a district in west Toronto.
DND confirmed Mubili was an active member of the Canadian Forces, believed to be recently stationed at CFB Petawawa.
Police declined to name the skydiving company, though Const. Shawn Peever confirmed Mubili had signed up for the jump with a “private recreational skydive company that was local (to Petawawa).”
The area where Mubili landed is several hundred metres from the “drop zone” for Skydive Petawawa, the area’s only local recreational skydiving company.
Skydive Petawawa did not return messages left by phone and email Monday, and attempts to reach company owner J.P. Marcoux were unsuccessful.
Luca Sestito, who owns Dynamic Parachute Rigging, a company connected to Skydive Petawawa, declined to comment.
“There’s an investigation going on … so I can’t say anything at this point,” Sestito said.
A video posted to YouTube by a user connected to Skydive Petawawa shows a woman who matches Mubili’s description enjoying a tandem jump with a Skydive Petawawa instructor.
In the clip, posted to the video-sharing site July 31, “Bety” says the jump is her “first time skydiving”, and after landing safely, proclaims it the “best experience of my life!”
According to information on the Skydive Petawawa website, the company performs tandem jumps from a Cessna at 10,000 feet altitude.
People attain an average speed of 195 km/h during the “free fall” portion of the jump, according to the company, which also provides a section under the heading, “What if the parachute malfunctions?”
“Skydiving parachute systems are equipped with a series of back ups that include a reserve parachute and an automatic activation device. This, combined with the knowledge base of your instructor and the training you receive if you are a First Jump Course student, provides solutions to most problems that are commonly encountered.
“That being said, we acknowledge there is inherent risk in everything we do in this world and that there is no perfect system. Our priority is the safety of all our jumpers.”
OPP said their investigation will include an examination of the equipment she was using. Police have spoken to witnesses but want to talk to anyone with information.
“We’re in the early stages” of the investigation, Const. Peever said.
Police notified the Transportation Safety Board of the incident.
TSB spokesman Eric Collard said the agency is aware of the incident but did not deploy an inspector.
OPP are leading the investigation, and have spoken with several witnesses.
Investigators are asking anyone with information to call the force at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
With files from Megan Gillis