An 18-year-old died in a skydiving accident in Georgia this week, according to her family. Jeanna Triplicata had been dreaming of going skydiving since she turned 18, and finally went with her grandmother on Sunday, her mom, Bridgette Triplicata wrote on Facebook.
“Grandma decided she wanted to go with her and they booked a jump for today,” Triplicata’s post reads. “They jumped and mom’s landing was perfect, she had a blast but Jeanna’s didn’t come down where she was supposed to and where we could see her.”
“Tragically we lost our oldest daughter today,” the post continues. Triplicata shared the last photo her daughter took – standing with her grandmother, just before they got on the plane at Skydive Atlanta in Thomaston, Georgia.
Nick Esposito, the 35-year-old skydiving instructor who jumped in tandem with Triplicata, also died. In an interview with CBS affiliate WMAZ, Esposito’s wife, Kristin Esposito, said he started skydiving in 2011 and trained to be an instructor in California.
“We met on an airplane, ironically enough. Airplanes play a big theme in our life,” Esposito said. “We did a lot of tandems together… We have a lot of Christmas cards of us dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus or some other holiday theme.”
“He’s a good good soul, Nick,” Esposito said. “He’s one of those people whose whole lot in life is to just take care of you and to take care of others and to have a good damn time.”
In an email to CBS News, Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore confirmed Triplicata and Espositio were both pronounced dead at the scene. “Upon exiting the aircraft, the primary parachute failed to open properly and went into a spin,” Kilgore said. “The emergency parachute did not deploy until extremely low altitude and did not fully open.”
The jump was the first for Triplicata, who recently graduated high school and was planning to attend the University of North Georgia to specialize in education, according to a GoFundMe created for her family.
In a long, heartfelt Facebook post, Triplicata’s father, Joey Triplicata, wrote about his first born daughter. “The second I laid eyes on her I saw my mother, who passed when I was 5, in her. We had already decided to name her Jeanna after my mother Jean, which just made that amazing moment even more perfect to us,” he wrote.
Triplicata said he was “so proud to be her father every day,” and he loved to tell people that she was on the color guard at Northgate High School and that she was going to University of North Georgia.
“While the pain I feel is beyond words it does not compare to they joy it was to be Jeanna’s dad,” he wrote. “I will hurt and miss her every day for the rest of my life but it is all worth it to be the father of the most wonderful person there could be.”
CBS News has reached out to the Triplicatas and is awaiting response.
In a statement to CBS News, Skydive Atlanta said the company is working with local authorities and the FAA on an investigation to clarify the details of what caused the accident.
“Our community is devastated for both our team member and the student and their respective families,” Skydive Atlanta owner Trey Holladay said in the statement. “We are all stunned and truly at a loss for words as we are a close-knit family. We have spoken with the next of kin and all are asking for privacy while we process and grieve.”