An East Meadow woman died Monday after a skydiving accident in Massachusetts on Saturday, authorities and her family said.
Alexis Zayas, 27, “veered off course” and struck a barn while skydiving in Orange, Massachusetts, the Northwestern district attorney’s office in Northampton, Massachusetts, said Wednesday.
Zayas’ mother, Ava Jacobs of East Meadow, accompanied her daughter on the trip and was on the ground nearby during her fatal fall.
“I watched her go up,” said Jacobs, 58. “She fell out of the sky.”
Jacobs said she had no idea what went wrong in the dive.
A spokeswoman for the Northwestern district attorney’s office said the death was under investigation and declined to provide details. A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, citing the ongoing investigation, also declined to comment.
Her mother described Zayas as a “total free spirit” and an avid skydiver, having completed three solo jumps and more than 15 tandem jumps before the accident.
“I have a picture of her first tandem dive, and the look on her face was sheer exhilarated joy,” Jacobs said of her daughter, who worked as a respite care giver and swim instructor.
Jacobs said Zayas’ plane took off for the dive around 6 p.m. Saturday.
A spokesman for Jumptown Skydiving in Orange said Zayas was a student who was “not a tandem” with an instructor at the time. An instructor was in the air diving separately from her, he said.
He declined to identify himself because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
The spokesman said the death was the first fatal accident in the history of the jump service, which has existed since 1959. That could not be immediately independently confirmed.
Zayas was taken to Athol Memorial Hospital in Athol, Massachusetts, after the accident, then was transferred to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she died Monday.
“She was a shooting star,” Jacobs said of Zayas.
“And like a shooting star, my daughter blazed so beautifully through her whole life and went out in quick and amazing fashion.”
CORRECTION: Alexis Zayas’ name was misspelled in a previous version of this story due to incorrect information provided by authorities.