A mother-of-eight has died alongside two experienced instructors in a horrifying skydiving accident.
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.
And in a tragic twist, the mum was given the daredevil jump as a 50th birthday present from her husband and children.
Peter Dawson and Toby Turner, both highly experienced instructors and close friends, also died in the accident.
'We're all shattered,' a member of Skydive staff 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 open.
It is believed 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.
'One of the deceased, a highly experienced instructor who had completed thousands of jumps, was completing a solo jump,’ a statement from Skydive Australia read.
'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.
An eyewitness revealed to the Cairns Post how they watched in horror as the scene 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.'
This article originally appeared on New Idea.