A mother-of-eight who died alongside two experienced male instructors in a horrific skydiving accident was gifted the tandem-jump as a birthday present.
Kerri Pike, the wife of former Cassowary Coast Councillor Alister Pike, was killed while taking part in a tandem skydive at Mission Beach in far north Queensland on Friday.
The skydive was a 50th birthday present for Mrs Pike from her husband and children, according to the Courier Mail.
Peter Dawson and Toby Turner, both highly experienced instructors and close friends, also died in the accident.
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Mother-of-eight Kerri Pike (pictured), was killed while taking part in a tandem skydive at Mission Beach on Friday
Skydiving instructors Peter Dawson (pictured left) and Toby Turner (right) died in the accident
On Friday night, friends of the three – including tearful members of Skydive staff – grieved their loss at a beachside bar.
'We're all shattered,' one told the Courier Mail.
'Most of us have known all three of them for years.'
Emergency services were called to the scene on Alexander Drive shortly after 3pm, with the victims treated for critical injuries but pronounced dead.
Queensland Police said that initial investigations indicated one of the instructor's – who was skydiving solo – collided with the tandem pair mid-air, with their parachutes failing to deploy.
It is understood the bodies of Mrs Pike and her instructor were found tangled in a tree on a banana farm, about 1.5km from the regular landing zone, NewsCorp reports.
The body of the other instructor was located in the garden of a nearby house.
Two highly experienced male instructors, aged 34 and 35, were also killed in the incident, which happened around 3.15pm
The experience is believed to have been a 50th birthday present for Mrs Pike from her husband Alistair Pike (the two pictured here) and their children, according to the Courier Mail
Mrs Pike (left) and her instructor's bodies were reportedly discovered tangled in a tree on a banana farm, about 1.5km from the regular landing zone, NewsCorp reports
Skydive Australia released a statement following the incident confirming that three people had died after sustaining injuries in the accident.
'One of the deceased, a highly experienced instructor who had completed thousands of jumps, was completing a solo jump,' they said.
'The other two were jumping as a tandem pair: a highly experienced instructor and a customer.'
The company said skydiving operations had been suspended at Mission Beach while authorities conduct an extensive investigation.
They also extended their 'deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the individuals and families involved and the broader skydiving community'.
Skydive Australia, with representatives seen talking to police, confirmed that two highly experienced instructors and a customer were killed
The company said skydiving operations had been suspended at Mission Beach while authorities conduct an extensive investigation
Emergency services were called to the incident near Alexander Drive in Mission Beach (pictured)
An eyewitness who saw the incident told the Cairns Post they watched horrified as the accident unfolded.
'You could see one chute was tangled and it wasn't opening,' the man who chose to go unnamed said.
'I was just watching him in free fall until he went behind the trees, and that was the last I saw.'
He said that it appeared as if the skydiver did not activate a backup parachute.
'It wasn't good to watch. I had my heart in my mouth.'
An eyewitness who saw the incident told the Cairns Post they watched horrified as the accident unfolded
Skydivers were pictured landing safely on the Mission Beach site earlier in the day, before the incident occurred
The eyewitness, who chose to go unnamed, said 'one chute was tangled and it wasn't opening'
Local Councillor Wayne Kimberley said the incident was a terrible tragedy, with Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos describing the news as devastating, according to the ABC.
'We are very, very saddened to hear about this news and right now I feel quite gutted actually,' he said.
'It's horrible news for the families and the thoughts of the council and the residents go to all those concerned and the families of those that have been killed.'
Mission Beach, located between Cairns and Townsville, is a regular skydiving spot for tourists, with the fatalities the worst in the industry's history for the region.
Skydive Mission Beach's website states that the company offers tandem jumps from altitudes of up to 15,000ft or 4572m.
Police and other agencies remain at the scene, with representatives from The Australian Parachute Federation also sent in from Brisbane to investigate.
It is understood the body of a solo skydiving instructor was found in the garden of a house, while the two tandem skydivers, including Mrs Pike, were located tangled in a tree of a nearby banana farm
Police and other agencies remain at the scene, with representatives from The Australian Parachute Federation also sent in from Brisbane to investigate