Owner of Minden skydiving company dies in Easter jump
A 30-year-old experienced skydiver fell to his death Easter Sunday in the Carson Valley while performing a routine skydive with three other experienced jumpers.
Wes Harberts, co-owner of Skydive Tahoe, was identified as the victim by an instructor at the skydiving school.
Harberts’ chute did open, according to Billy Sharman, an instructor who witnessed the accident that occurred shortly after 2 p.m.
“The parachute was open; it was just spinning after it was open,” Sharman said. “He wasn’t able to correct until he hit the ground.”
Sharman speculated that Harberts, a veteran of more than 9,000 jumps, was a victim of circumstance.
“It’s not something we can say for sure,” he said. “But it looks like he didn’t do anything wrong. The canopy opened – this guy was an experienced, experienced jumper – it’s just one of those things that happened.”
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office did not have an official comment at press time Sunday, though one spokesman noted an investigation had been started.
According to eyewitnesses, Harberts was given CPR shortly after impact, but the effort did not revive the parachutist.
“We don’t know, can’t say – but it was probably pretty instant,” Sharman said.
Skydive Tahoe, based in Placerville, Calif., was opened by Harberts and partner Aja Niemann last June at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
The duo attempted to set up Skydive Tahoe at Lake Tahoe for about three years but ran into difficulty clearing the numerous permitting processes there.
They, in turn, shifted their focus to the Carson Valley and hired six instructors, of which Sharman was one.
“I knew Wes for about three years,” he said. “He was a very competent skydiver. It just may have been his time.”