FAA investigating after Fort Bragg soldier dies in ‘freak’ skydiving accident


SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — A “freak skydiving accident” in Brunswick County has the Federal Aviation Administration investigating the death of a Fort Bragg soldier.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Justin Goff died Sunday during his jump.

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After 17 years of business and more than 80,000 jumps, Skydive Coastal Carolinas’ Owner Brian Strong said this is the first deadly skydiving related jump he’s ever had.

“We’ve never had this happen in the 17 years that we’ve been here and thousands of jumps and now we have to deal with this,” Strong said.

Strong says Goff was a trained skydiver. He was participating in a canopy training class Sunday morning when he died.

“The canopy opened up normally and he had full control of the canopy, flew the parachute down to the landing area and at the last 75 feet is when he got a high speed impact to the ground and, unfortunately, lost his life,” Strong said.

The skydive center is an independent company at Cape Fear Regional Jetport. Airport Director Howie Franklin says he’s seen thousands jump, but says what happened was a “freak accident.”

“He made a turn that was as I understand 290 degrees and when he did that at that altitude at about 100 feet, his wind spilled out of his canopy and that’s when he fell,” Franklin said.

Franklin said getting that call is something he will never forget.

“It’s a rough thing for everybody,” Franklin said.

Strong said he will be educating skydivers on what Goff did wrong, and as business continues will be doing the best he can to prevent another death.

“The way we describe it is if someone is driving down the highway and they see a fatal crash: Does everybody stop and get out of their car?,” Strong said. “No, the life goes on and we just keep on going and we learn from the other people’s mistakes and move forward. ”

Oak Island Police have said wind could have been a factor in this incident.

Strong disagrees and said the maximum wind speed for students is 14 miles per hour and his center always follows strict guidelines.