LOUISBURG, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh man died in a parachuting incident in Franklin County on Saturday afternoon, officials say.
James Stremmel of Raleigh died while skydiving around 2 p.m. at the Franklin County Airport off Highway 401, sources at the skydiving center used by Stremmel told WNCN.
The Triangle Skydiving Center is located at the airport, which is also known as the Triangle North Executive Airport.
The owner of the Triangle Skydiving Center says Stremmel, who was a frequent client of the center, was an experienced skydiver.
Stremmel, who used to live in Texas, was a former US Marine and lived in Raleigh with his girlfriend, sources said.
Greg Upper, the owner of the skydiving center, said he doesn’t know what went wrong during the jump.
Upper says Stremmel went up in a plane with a few others — for his second or third jump of the day.
Upper told WNCN that he spoke with Stremmel about 20 minutes before he died and that Stremmel’s parachute worked. But somehow … he had a hard landing.
Stremmel, who was licensed, had performed more than 1,800 skydiving jumps in the past and jumps nearly every weekend, according to Upper.
“James was a friend of mine. He was, it’s unfortunate that’s all I can say at this point. Its unexpected, unfortunate and it was a tragic accident that’s all I can tell you,” Upper said.
Stremmel wanted to to travel and to skydive all around the world.
Upper said his center does 15,000 jumps a year and they’ve never had a fatality.
“I was hoping I would be here 30 years and never have to deal with this. It’s an unfortunate accident that’s the best I can tell you at this point,” Upper said.
The Franklin County Sheriff and the FAA are investigating the incident.