SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; The El Dorado County Sheriffand#8217;s Office has finished its investigation into a skydiving accident that killed a South Lake Tahoe man in late May, but the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to conclude its inquiry.
Robert Ranieri III, 28, was one of three skydivers who jumped from a helicopter about 8:30 a.m. May 22 and planned on landing near Camp Richardson.
Offshore winds picked up as the trio exited the helicopter and prevented the group from reaching its intended landing site, said Lt. Pete Van Arnum. Ranieri was the last one out of the helicopter and was the farthest away from the shore when he jumped, Van Arnum said. At least two of the skydivers landed in Lake Tahoeand#8217;s frigid waters.
An autopsy found that Ranieri drowned after landing in the lake near Camp Richardson. His body was found in about 15 feet of water about 10:45 a.m., according to the Sheriffand#8217;s Office. The other members of the group were unharmed.
Federal Aviation Administration investigators have examined the skydiversand#8217; parachutes, but have yet to wrap up their probe, agency spokesman Ian Gregor said during a phone interview last week.
The agencyand#8217;s involvement in investigating skydiving accidents is fairly limited, Gregor added.
and#8220;Weand#8217;re investigating to see whether the skydiversand#8217; parachutes were properly packed by the appropriate person,and#8221; Gregor said in a follow-up email. and#8220;We have examined the chutes but have not completed our investigation.and#8221;
Video from a camera mounted on Ranieriand#8217;s helmet shows his parachute functioning properly, Van Arnum said.
and#8220;You can see the chute is fully deployed with no problem,and#8221; Van Arnum said.
It is unknown how long FAAand#8217;s investigation will take to conclude, Gregor said.