On a routine skydive adventure in Puerto Vallarta, a Cessna 180 flown by Skydive Vallarta departed the runway on May 7 with four passengers and the company pilot. The four passengers included two instructors and two tourists paired together for a tandem jump.
Tandem skydiving allows inexperienced or first-time skydivers to experience the thrill while attached to the back of a trained instructor, eliminating the need for extensive training before a jump. Most training of the tandem jumper is simple safety instructions moments before their jump.
Of the passengers on board the Skydive Vallarta plane, Varsha Maisuria from Loughborough, UK was on her first skydive adventure. Maisuria was teamed up with female skydive instructor, Robin Ballachey, from Lake Tahoe, who had recently arrived in the city to be an instructor during the summer months with Skydive Vallarta.
During the routine flight with five passengers on board, the plane began losing altitude. Official reports stated that the plane had mechanical problems but the cause of the accident had not been determined because the plane needed to be recovered. The Maisuria state that the accident was not due to mechanical failures.
Eyewitnesses to the accident report that Ballachey’s parachute got entangled on the plane leaving her and Maisuria dangling from the side of the craft while plummeting towards the ocean.
The small plane made impact 1 KM of the shores of Puerto Vallarta at Las Glorias Beach where one eyewitness said it was the ‘most horrific’ thing she had ever seen.
Within moments of the plane’s impact, dozens of rescuers, civilians, and fishermen were on the scene using jet skis and small boat crafts.
The three men on board, including the pilot of the plane all survived, leaving behind a female tourist and their instructor. It is believed the two women were dragged underwater with the plane that now sits over 1000 meters underwater.
Authorities have pinpointed the plane’s location but do not have the equipment necessary for a recovery mission at those depths, leaving the cause of the accident and the whereabouts of two bodies unknown. Family members of Maisuria have been trying to find the equipment needed to recover the plane and contacting media outlets in Mexico, the UK, and U.S.A, hoping to find answers.
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There is no word as to why the Skydive Vallarta pilot abandoned the plane without ensuring the safety of the two female passengers, one being a tourist and client to the skydive company. Under normal protocol of these instances, women and children are evacuated first and the pilot only abandons the craft after all passengers have been safely evacuated.
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Update: The family of Varsha Maisuria say the plane is not 1000 meters underwater, as has been reported by the family previously and authorities, along with numerous news outlets based on official statements. The family has also told Vallarta Daily that mechanical issues with the plane were not the cause of the accident. If the family can provide information supporting these statements, Vallarta Daily will file a correction to the story. This story is based on reports and statements by the authorities involved in the case.