Pair died in 'tragic accident' over Langar Airfield

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Two people described as experienced parachutists who died during a jump in Nottinghamshire died in a "tragic accident", a coroner has ruled.

Brian Laithwaite, 65, from Wigan, and Emma Bramley, 31, from Nottingham, had just taken part in a "six-way skydive" when they became entangled on 4 June.

They plummeted to the ground at Langar Airfield and died instantly.

Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded verdicts of accidental death at an inquest at Nottingham Coroner's Court.

'Experienced parachutists'

Parachutist Gary Davidson, who took part in the jump, told the inquest: "A six-way skydive is where six people jump out as a collective group and get together at a certain point and perform certain formations."

He said the group, led by Mr Laithwaite, had come together and were separating to move into clear airspace to deploy their parachutes at about 4,500-5,000ft.

Image caption,
Mr Laithwaite had 40 years of skydiving experience

Ms Bramley's parachute hit Mr Laithwaite's feet and became entangled around his body, the hearing was told.

Mr Davidson said "Some time later amongst all the sort of whirling and confusion, I saw a reserve parachute deploy.

"Due to the spinning, it also became entangled with the other parachute."

He said it seemed like Mr Laithwaite was trying to communicate with Ms Bramley but was not sure if she could hear.

"I believe his intention was to attempt to land them with his parachute."

'Greatly missed'

The hearing was told a doctor present at the airfield rushed to where Mr Laithwaite and Ms Bramley fell, but both were dead.

Subsequent post-mortem examinations concluded they died of multiple injuries.

John Hitchen, chairman of safety and training at the British Parachute Association, told the hearing both were experienced parachutists, with Mr Laithwaite having completed about 1,800 jumps.

It had earlier emerged that Ms Bramley had been celebrating her 250th jump on the day she died and Mr Laithwaite, a former chief instructor, had 40 years of skydiving experience.

After the hearing, Ms Bramley's mother, Annette Bramley, said: "Emma was a beautiful lady and will be greatly missed."

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