The police said the aircraft from which she jumped was about 10,000 feet above Potiyapuram village near Salem airport at Kamalapuram, 22 km from Salem city.
Vinod, a businessman, watched helplessly as his wife plunged to death, said the Omalur police, who are investigating the case. He was set to dive next.
Ramya suffered multiple fractures and was rushed to a private hospital, where she was declared brought dead.
After preliminary investigations, the police said Ramya was supposed to open the parachute when she was 6,000 ft above the ground. But, despite her attempts to open it, it did not open properly and she hit the ground three km from the airport.
Airport officials said the event was organised by Bangalore-based Indian Skydiving and Parachute Association (ISPA) from January 25.
Executive secretary of the association Ankitha Ashok Kumar (28) was arrested. Trainers G. Mohan Rao and B. Aishwarya Yadav and member N. Rajesh have been picked up for questioning.
A case has been registered under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
One of the participants at the event, Aswath Narayanan of Krishnagiri, said they were given ground training on the first day, followed by the first stage of diving in which the skydivers had to dive from a height of 3,000 ft.
“Ramya was among those who were successful at this stage on Saturday and were allowed to skydive from 10,000 ft on Thursday,” he added.
What went wrong?
The police quoted the victim’s husband as saying that there was nobody from the ground to instruct Ramya (who even had a micro headphone inside her helmet).
It is suspected that the parachute could have spun around her due to heavy air pressure at that height, police said.
Sub-collector of Mettur Aneesh Sekhar, who conducted an inquiry, said Ramya and two trainers jumped from the aircraft at the same time. “While the parachutes of the trainers opened, Ramya’s did not open properly. She landed on an agricultural field.,” he told The Hindu.
Superintendent of Police R. Sakthivel said it was the responsibility of the organisers to give proper training to the participants and ensure that the parachute was in good condition. He said the arrested trainers claimed that one of them tried to rescue Ramya by instructing her to open the second parachute. But, she was not able to follow their instructions.
Mr. Vinod said all the 11 persons who participated in the event were inexperienced. “Skydiving is an expensive sport and it is the duty of the organisers to ensure that all safety arrangements are made. Negligence on the part of the organisers cost her life,” he lamented.
On the legality of the whole event, the sub-collector said it was organised from January 24 to February 2 after obtaining permission from the authorities concerned.