Vanessa Ivonne Melendez Cardenas was celebrating her 18th birthday with the 1,300ft parachute jump in Mexico
A schoolgirl girl plunged 1,300ft to her death on a birthday skydive after her parachute failed to open – and the operator insists its chute wasn’t to blame.
Vanessa Ivonne Melendez Cardenas, 18, died along with instructor Mauricio Gutierrez Castillo, 34, in Morelos, Mexico on Sunday.
She arrived at the Albatroos Air Sports Club with her loved ones at around 3pm and was keen to celebrate her 18th birthday in style.
Along with a group of others, she was assigned to Mauricio, an experienced instructor with more than 400 jumps under his belt.
The pair boarded a plane, from which they jumped and soared through the skies for at least two minutes, local paper El Grafico reported.
In footage shared on local reports, a man can be heard saying: “My God, I hope that Liz come this way,” as other skydivers land.
This is the moment high school student Vanessa plunged to her death along with instructor Mauricio Gutiérrez Castillo
But moments later he realised “Liz”, Vanessa, was not among them.
Emergency services scrambled to the scene at around 3.43pm local time, and found two bodies near the Mexico-Acapulco highway.
Jorge Gaitan, director of Albatros Parachuting, said the fall was not an accident caused by a malfunction in the equipment.
Instead, he insisted one of the two victims had caused the horrific fall.
He said: “We are investigating, but the parachute was working well.
“Everything seems to indicate that the release of the parachute was not an accident, because it was activated.
“It wasn’t equipment failure or anything like that. It surely had to do with someone who was on that flight, who manipulated and activated the release mechanism.”
Vanessa and Mauricio’s bodies were found lying metres away from a highway
The skydiving company said the parachute’s release was activated at an altitude where “it was impossible for the parachute to respond”.
Gaitan added: “That doesn’t end up happening by accident: it is caused by a human.
“We are in those investigations. We still do not know what happened.”
The area remains cordoned off by police as they carry out investigations.
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