Monday, May 18, 2015

Parachute Journalism Cont'd

If you saw the last two posts and are still interested in the puzzling local news practices on display in the skydive tragedy in Puerto Vallarta last week, here's the latest dubious hearsay.

Vallarta Daily reports this morning that the British family of one of the two missing and presumed dead jumpers, Varsha Maisuria pictured above, have taken it on themselves to search for equipment capable of reaching the underwater wreckage and the bodies.

They're in water anywhere from from 500 to 1,000 meters deep. Local search and rescue teams can dive no deeper than 100 meters.

But buried in the story are two interesting new assertions about the chain of events leading to the crash. One says it actually began when the plane showed signs of mechanical trouble and started losing altitude. The passengers were all prepared to skydive and decided to get out while they could.

The other new purported "fact" was that the pilot "abandoned" the plane himself before it hit the water, apparently with the two women still attached to it. 

The story wonders aloud why the pilot would have violated "normal protocol" calling for a pilot to stay aboard until all passengers are out. It's a curious time for reportorial curiosity to make a sudden appearance. Apparently only questions that have obvious answers are worth asking.

The highly significant new tidbits were offered as usual without any attribution or any admission that the story has gaping holes that need filling.

There's no reference at all to the previously mentioned investigative report, which supposedly said the two surviving skydivers made a normal exit from the plane and parachuted safely before the two victims tried to jump and got caught on the landing gear.

The latest story repeats the assertion of all other previous accounts, which said the pilot and the two surviving passengers were rescued from the water after the crash.

If the plane was really losing altitude fast because of engine failure, you could speculate that  it hadn't yet climbed high enough for actual skydiving and the three survivors all jumped out quite close to the water. But at this point who knows except those three?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But Vasha Maisuria's family certainly does. 

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