Australian skydiving record holder Michael Vaughan dies in parachute accident

Skydiver Michael Vaughan died following a parachuting accident near Byron Bay. Source: Facebook.

Champion skydiver Michael Vaughan has died following a parachuting accident near Byron Bay on Friday afternoon.

Vaughan, 45, died in Gold Coast University hospital on Saturday afternoon.

Briony Alana Clarke, 29, died at the scene after their parachutes became entangled during a jump at around 3.30pm at Tyagarah airfield, north of Byron Bay and they plummeted to earth.

Vaughan was airlifted to the Gold Coast in a critical condition and underwent surgery, but could not be saved.

A veteran of around 10,000 jumps, Vaughan set Australian and world records for canopy formations during his parachuting career. He ran skydiving courses across NSW and was a veteran instructor.

It’s believed the pair collided after their parachutes opened.

Friends have left moving tributes to Vaughan on his Facebook page, recounting their many dives together.

Fellow skydiver Dave Dobson said Vaughan was “the most inspirational, motivating, passionate and selfless skydiver the community has ever known”.

“I have a feeling more people would have jumped with you than any other skydiver in Australia, and that in itself is a massive tribute to the type of person you were. Not judgemental, not too good, just happy to motivate, inspire, jump with and share your knowledge skills and smile,” Dobson said.

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident and will prepare a report for the coroner.

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