Australian champion skydiver plunges to her death while testing out new jumping method in the US: ‘Skydiving was her life’
- Australian skydiver dies in the US
- Melissa Porter was testing new jump
- Tragedy sparked outpuring of tributes
An Australian champion skydiver has died while testing out a new jumping method in the United States just weeks after she helped set a national record.
Melissa Porter, from Port Kennedy in Western Australia, died at the Skydive Spaceland Houston facility in Texas on June 24, where she was working as an instructor.
Horrified spectators reportedly saw the parachute deploy after Ms Porter jumped out of the plane but then made a hard landing.
Investigators are yet to determine whether the young Australian experienced a medical emergency during the dive or was killed by the impact.
Ms Porter’s death was confirmed by local police on Sunday after her body was idenitified, sparking an outpouring of tributes.
Australia’s skydiving community has been rocked by shock death of Melissa Porter
Ms Porter had spent at least a month in Texas preparing for the jump and recently shared footage of herself training at iFLY El Paso.
‘Finally sent some head down in the tunnel,’ she captioned the video.
Fellow skydivers have taken to social media to express their grief and pay tribute.
‘We lost such a beautiful person. Rest peacefully Mel,’ one wrote.
Others remembered Ms Porter as ‘exuberant’ and an inspiration to other young female divers
‘Skydiving was her life,’ coach Kristina Hicks told The West Australian.
‘She was loving (living in Texas) and being part of the diving community over there where there were opportunities to progress and work with some of the best divers in the world.’
In May Porter was amomg 19 women who jumped at Skydive Ramblers in Toogoolawah to complete a ‘2-point 23 way’, an Australian women’s total-break sequential record.
It comes Ms Porter and her skydiving partner won gold in the two-way Inter Vertical Formation Skydiving category at the national championships in WA’s Wheatbelt region in March.
She fell in love with the ardenaline sport after watching her grandmother skydive and took her first tandem skydive on her 14th birthday.
Ms Porter has spent the last five years travelled the world and participated in several skydiving adventures, She also learned to solo skydive in Portugal.
In March, Ms Porter spoke about her passion to inspire more young women to pursue skydiving.
‘For so long the sport has been male-dominated,’ she told the Sound Telegraph.
‘There’s this idea that women are too afraid or they’re too small, or they’re too light, all of these things and it’s absolutely not true, they are 100 per cent capable.
‘It’s really cool for me to be able to be an instructor and to show other women it’s doable.
‘I want to continue doing that for years.’
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to Ms Porter’s devastated family.
‘We send our deepest condolences to the woman’s family,’ a DFAT spokesperson added.
An online fundraiser to support Ms Porter’s loved ones has already raised more than $13,000.
‘Please help support Mel Porter’s family in this challenging time. We’re hoping that the financial burden of last minute international travel and funeral expenses can be the least of their worries as they begin to recover from this devastating loss,’ the page states.