JAMUL, Calif. — A skydiving instructor who plummeted to his death in rural East County Sunday normally jumped with a safety device that could have saved his life.
Janway had been reported missing at 4:10 p.m. while skydiving out of Skydive San Diego on Otay Lakes Road, San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Christine Robbins said. A sheriff’s department helicopter crew spotted his body shortly before 5 p.m., Robbins said.
“It’s tough when it’s one of your family,” Buzz Fink, the owner of Skydive San Diego, said. “A lot of tears. A lot of sadness.”
Janway worked for the company as a senior parachute rigger and instructor and was teaching a group how to skydive when the incident occurred, Fink said. He hit another jumper’s leg, and the collision may have knocked him out.
The other jumper deployed his chute and landed safely, but Janway’s parachute never opened, Fink said. Janway normally jumped with a safety device that automatically deploys the parachute when the jumper reaches a certain speed, but he had removed the device for maintenance and jumped without it on Sunday, Fink said.
Janway was well liked by everyone at Skydive San Diego, Fink said.
“Just a good guy,” Fink said. “Never had an enemy, always had a smile on his face, always willing to help people out, just like a brother to everybody.”
Janway, a San Diego resident, was the brother-in-law of NASCAR champion and El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson, according to the Johnson’s website.