Experienced skydiver died during routine exercise in Nottinghamshire
25 October 2018, 16:09
A father-of-two died in front of his best friend in a routine skydiving training exercise after making a fatal misjudgment, his father has said.
Experienced skydiver Aiden Chaffe, who had completed around 1,400 jumps in his life, was travelling at around 50mph before he hit the ground after he held a dive for too long on Monday.
His dad Bryn Chaffe said the 31-year-old plummeted from the sky in front of his best friend, who is "in pieces" after the accident in Langar, Nottinghamshire.
Mr Chaffe, who is also a professional skydiver, said Aiden's eight-year-old son Harry keeps asking his mum "if he wishes hard enough, will he come back".
A GoFundMe page set up by Aiden's father has already received donations totalling more than £17,000 which will go towards helping his long-term partner Pip, 26, and his two children Harry and 18-month-old Olivia who live in Shardlow, Derbyshire.
A spokeswoman for Nottinghamshire Coroner's Court confirmed Mr Chaffe's file had been passed to the coroner, but no date had yet been fixed for his inquest.
Addressing the impact on him and Aiden's family, Mr Chaffe said: "Devastated is an absolute understatement. I'm in that stage of semi-denial - I'm still expecting him just to come back through the door.
"It wasn't reckless, he wasn't doing anything crazy, he just made a misjudgment.
"He made one mistake and that one mistake killed him."
He continued: "It's not a freak accident, it's a misjudgment. But ultimately, because it's skydiving, it always seems worse.
"The sick thing is, because he was well-known and well loved, his friends were with him in the landing area attending to him - in fact his very best friend, who is in absolute pieces.
"He had to look after his dying friend."
Speaking of the money raised so far, Mr Chaffe said: "We didn't know how much he was loved and how highly he was thought of and that is a comfort. It really is.
"The only thing I can do is what I'm doing now and that is make sure that we help Pip, Harry and Olivia and we make sure they know who Aiden was.
"I can't bring him back, as much as I cry and scream it not to be so, but I am trying to secure something for the short and medium future of my much-loved grandchildren."
Mr Chaffe, of Billingham, County Durham, admitted this was not the first time he had had to deal with a skydiving accident.
He said: "This is not the first time I've been involved with this sort of thing.
"In fact one of Aiden's friends was killed in exactly the same way earlier this year.
"I know at some point I will have to take Aiden's ashes and scatter them as well and I'm not sure about that - I only did my mum's last year."
He added: "The only consolation I have is that we got to work together this season. I will treasure those memories forever, but I don't know how I feel about going up into the air again.
"The thought of jumping without him is just awful and, of course, the last thing my family want me to do at the moment is make another jump."