Long Island skydiving accident claims life of Rikers Island correction officer

Kristin Thorne reports on the Long Island skydiving death and the subsequent investigation
A New York City correction officer was killed and an instructor critically injured in a skydiving accident on Long Island Wednesday.

The incident happened above Skydive Long Island in Calverton just after 4 p.m. It was a tandem jump, which means the student and the instructor were connected from takeoff to touchdown.

The two-man team was about to land when something went horribly wrong, causing the parachute to collapse about 75 feet above the ground. The FAA is investigating, but it is believed that the wind was a factor.

When emergency workers arrived, Gary Messina was already deceased. Eyewitness News has learned he was a correction officer at Rikers Island and would have been celebrating his 26th birthday on Thursday. He has been on the job since 2012, and the Department of Corrections commissioner says he was well-known and well-liked.

The instructor, 28-year-old Christopher Scott, of Sound View, was flown to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

Skydive Long Island has been open since 1986, and there have been instances where skydivers and student were injured during landings. But this is the first time that someone has been killed during one of the company's many jumps.

The accident remains under investigation.
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