A skier and BASE jumper who regularly appeared on an MTV show about extreme sports was killed after crashing into a tree during a skydiving stunt at a Northern California golf course, authorities said.
Erik Roner, 39, of Tahoe City, died Monday as he performed with other skydivers before a golf tournament in Squaw Valley, about 5 miles from Lake Tahoe’s northwest shore, Placer County sheriff’s Capt. Dennis Walsh said.
Roy Tuscany, a friend of Roner’s, said he watched as two other parachutists landed safely on the golf course’s fairway but then looked on in horror as Roner slammed hard into a tree about 25 to 30 feet above the ground.
He said Roner’s parachute got tangled in the tree and Roner dangled there while many on the ground scrambled to find ladders and other means to get to him. At one point, several people tried to stand on one another’s shoulders to reach him.
“There’s no protocol for this kind of rescue,” Tuscany said. “There’s no manual. It was just horrible.”
Authorities were not able to remove Roner from the tree, and he died at the scene, Walsh said.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether the organizer of the jump had permission to drop skydivers over a group of people, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said.
It will also look into whether the parachutes were properly packed and by the appropriate people, he said. A representative from the golf course was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Roner’s death comes four months after world-famous wingsuit flyer Dean Potter and fellow adventurer Graham Hunt died after leaping from Taft Point, 3,500 feet above Yosemite Valley, and crashing into a ridgeline.
“Erik was a beautiful man, great father, wonderful friend and the love of my life,” his wife, Annika Roner, said in a statement.
Roner, a professional skier and avid BASE jumper, was known for being part of “Nitro Circus,” an MTV show centered around freestyle motocross rider Travis Pastrana and his friends who are extreme-sports athletes. He also hosted the TV show “Locals” on sports network Outside Television.
“Nitro Circus” ended in 2009 after two seasons. “Nitro Circus Live,” on which Roner also appeared, aired on MTV2 for four seasons until last year, MTV spokeswoman Jennifer Solari said.
Roner is survived by his wife and two children.