Skydive tragedy goes to coroner
AN inquest into a "very unusual" skydiving tragedy that killed three people at Mission Beach last year will begin next month.
The investigation will seek to understand whether Kerri Anne Pike, Peter Michael Dawson and Tobias John Turner were involved in a mid-air collision at the popular tourism town on October 13, 2017, and whether the parachutes used by the trio were deployed appropriately.
The inquest will begin in the Cairns Coroners Court on August 6.
A Civil Aviation and Safety Authority spokesman said the inquest was "not unexpected".
"It's pretty routine. They will gather evidence from us and we'll provide that and co-operate fully," he said.
"We do not know what the coroner may or may not want from us.
"That incident in particular was very unusual."
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor John Kremastos said he could not speak on behalf of the whole community but welcomed the inquest if it would bring closure to the families.
"They have suffered long enough and our thoughts are still with them," he said.
"I believe the company involved did have stringent regulations and while I can't pre-empt the outcome of the coroner's finding, it is sad but the risk it could happen is there."
Less than two weeks after losing his wife, Alister Pike called for an open coronial inquest into the deaths.
The inquest will also seek to determine what Australian Standards, guidelines or practices were in place in the skydiving industry at the time of the deaths; the role and responsibility of Skydive Cairns in the incident; and whether Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and CASA adequately monitored and enforced safe practices in the commercial parachuting industry, and reviewed serious and fatal incidents.
Kerri Anne Pike, 54, a mother of eight, was described as ''a beautiful soul'' who ''brought joy to everyone'' after she was killed in a parachuting incident at Mission Beach in October last year. Experienced Skydive Mission Beach instructor Peter Dawson, 35, was remembered as an "adrenalin junkie".
The death of his 34-year-old colleague, Toby Turner, also hit the tight-knit community hard.
Operations at Skydive Mission Beach resumed on October 21, 2017, eight days after the tragedy.