Skydiver who died after hard landing was experienced sportsman

Experienced Kapaa skydiver died fighting for his life, friends say
Robert McCord (Image: McCord Family)
Robert McCord (Image: McCord Family)
Robert McCord (Image: McCord Family)
Robert McCord (Image: McCord Family)
(Image: McCord Family)
(Image: McCord Family)

MOKULEIA,OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The skydiver who died Saturday after a hard landing at Dillingham Airfield has been identified as 62-year-old Robert McCord, of Kapaa.

Friends and family say he was an experienced skydiver with more than 5,000 jumps under his belt.

"Mountaineering, rock climbing, snow-skiing, paragliding, you name it, he did it," said friend Denise Sanders.

Sanders says McCord was on Oahu for a weekend of adventure. McCord, Sanders and about a dozen other experienced jumpers took off together from Mokuleia on Saturday morning.

"Bobby (Robert) was stoked to be back here jumping," said Sanders. "He was confident and was all smiles when we were gearing up."

Sanders and McCord snapped one final photo on the plane before leaping.

"The plan was for us to do a two-way just him and me, which is what we did," said Sanders. "It was great. We turned a few points, smiled a lot and laughed in free fall."

The two separated before their landing. And on the way down, McCord accidentally clipped a tree.

"The parachute kept flying, but he was still snagged in the tree and that parachute has some drive, so it pulled him down out of the tree," said Sanders.

She says McCord fell 30 to 40 feet.

"When I landed I saw some people running toward where his parachute was so I ran over there to help as well."

Sanders is a former ER nurse and performed CPR on McCord until medics arrived. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The autopsy report cited a blunt impact on his torso.

"Nobody could have done anything more to bring him back," said Sanders, who added she's grateful to have been there for her friend and wants everyone to remember him for his big heart and positive spirit.

"He was probably the most upbeat, positive person you'll ever meet," she said. "I don't think he had a mean bone in his body. Bobby died fighting for his life."

Friends and family will hold celebration of life for McCord on Kauai next month.

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