Police ID 2 skydivers killed in midair collision as others continue to seek thrills at Eloy site

ELOY, AZ - Police have identified two skydivers who were killed Tuesday night during a jump near Eloy.

Police Sgt. Brian Jerome said 40-year-old Keiron O'Rourke and 51-year-old Bernd Schmehl died after colliding midair at Skydive Arizona.

Schmehl, of Germany, was pronounced dead at the scene when authorities arrived. O'Rourke, of the United Kingdom, was transported to Casa Grande Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

According to Jerome, Schmehl and O'Rourke were experienced skydivers. Schmehl had logged 1,707 jumps, with 80 in the last six months. O'Rourke had a similar record, logging 849 total jumps, with 100 of those in the last six months.

The men were trying to set world records for group jumps at the time of the Tuesday accident.

Skydivers from all around the world resumed their airplane jumps Wednesday at the prominent Skydive Arizona.

They say their loss was on their minds, but their friends would want them to go on and set the record.
"There's nothing specific that was said that we're making the jump for them. But I think in everybody's hearts, they're on the forefront of our minds," said skydiver Dave Eisele.

Eisele is from Texas and has been skydiving for 13 years. He says his passion for it is indescribable-- and so was the decision to jump again today.

"I think we all spent the past 24 hours trying to figure out what went wrong."

He knows the big risk involved every time. The men who died logged more than 2,500 jumps combined.

"I don't care if we're on the ground, about to board the plane or in the air, we're thinking about safety, safety, safety," Eisele said.

He says they're more determined than ever to set that record.

"You just regroup, learn from what happened, get back up and ride again," he said.

Officials are still investigating the collision.



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