CALVERTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The heartbroken family of a New York City correction officer who was killed while skydiving on Long Island is speaking out as the Federal Aviation Administration investigates the accident.
Gary Messina wanted to toast his birthday with an unforgettable adventure. He would have turned 26 on Thursday.
“He’s going to be missed,” his brother, Anthony Messina, told CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang. “I love you, Gary. Happy birthday. I wish you were still here.”
Witnesses said the parachute did not open, killing Messina and critically injuring his instructor, 28-year-old Christopher Scott, during a tandem jump at Skydive Long Island in Calverton on Wednesday.
It’s still not clear what exactly happened during the jump, but the possibility of a dust devil is being investigated, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.
“A dust devil is essentially almost a miniature tornado,” said Jim Crouch of the United States Parachute Association.
The company’s owner, Ray Maynard, released a statement expressing his condolences and vowing to work with investigators.