Dayton Bryant, Azle, Texas teen dies in skydiving accident after going on his first dive in solo trip at Colorado’s High Sky Adventures.
A 17-year-old teen boy has died in what has been described as a ‘freak’ skydiving accident in Colorado – just one day before his 18th birthday.
Dayton Bryant, of Azle, Texas, died Sunday while skydiving at High Sky Adventures in Colorado, where he was pronounced dead after an apparent parachute failure during his first skydiving attempt, which was a solo jump, sheriff officials said.
Bryant, whose death was being treated as an accident, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Fremont County coroner. An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday, sheriff officials said.
The coroner’s chief deputy told KDFW that the teen’s parachute went into a spiral shortly after his jump, but said no defects were found in his equipment. His mother, Sunja Stevens, told the media outlet that her son sent her one last photo before the fatal plunge.
‘He asked me if I knew what kind of skydiving he would be doing,’ Stevens said. ‘I assumed tandem. That’s when he told me about this type of skydiving called static line. I was trying to be supportive of his celebration and what he wanted to do.’
Could Dayton Bryant’s death have been avoided?
The website of the skydiving facility advertises a first-jump course starting at $99 that begins with four to five hours of training before jumping with a static line, which ‘automatically opens your parachute as you exit the aircraft at 3,500 feet above the ground’.
‘As you progress, you make short freefall jumps without the static line and progress to longer freefalls,’ describes the skydiving outlet.
Stevens, meanwhile, said Bryant had the choice to celebrate his birthday with a trip to the beach or the mountains.
‘Of course, he chose mountains,’ the teen’s mother said.
Bryant according to the teen’s mother was supposed to have a ‘fun trip’ with his father- but never made it back home after his solo dive turned tragic.
Stevens said her husband, who wanted the trip to be a memory of a lifetime, is now ‘blaming himself’ for their son’s demise.
‘It’s totally unwarranted, of course,’ Stevens said. ‘He just refuses to leave Colorado without his son.’
The FAA has no requirement that first dives be tandem, but Stevens wants that to change.
‘I do feel if he hadn’t jumped alone, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you,’ the mother reiterated.
Dayton Bryant remembered:
Bryant was set to graduate in May from Azle High School, where he played tuba in the marching band.
‘Dayton was an incredible young man who inspired many of our former and current members and showed them what it meant to be in a drum corps,’ The Guardians Drum & Bugle Corps wrote on Facebook. ‘We cheered him on as he accomplished so much this past year, and were excited to see him live his life to the fullest … Rest in peace, our friend. We miss you. Happy birthday.’
An online fundraiser set up to offset funeral costs for the teen’s family has raised more than $4,700 as of Thursday morning.
Azle High School will have grief counselors on campus for students when they return for spring break.
Request for comment by Scallywagandvagabond.com at High Sky Adventures has yet to be returned.
Sending love and prayers to the family of Dayton Bryant, you will be missed dearly.💚🖤💚 pic.twitter.com/TwPFYiKSkm
— Azle Stucrew (@azlestucrew) March 10, 2019