Singaporean victim in skydiving tragedy had a fear of heights

Friends described Mr Mario Low Ke Wei as adventurous and fit.
Friends described Mr Mario Low Ke Wei as adventurous and fit.PHOTO: MARIO LOW KE WEI / FACEBOOK

The Singaporean man who was killed in a skydiving accident near Sydney, Australia, last Saturday was adventurous but had a fear of heights, said his family and friends.

Mr Mario Low Ke Wei, 29, and his skydiving instructor Adrian Lloyd crashed onto the driveway of a property about 1km from the intended landing point in an open field, after a 4,200m-high dive operated by Sydney Skydivers.

Both men are believed to have died on impact.

Mr Low's sister, who is believed to be living in Luxembourg, told The Daily Telegraph that she hopes the police would find out the cause of the accident. "I always thought a tandem jump is safe. We need closure," she said. "What happened?"

In tandem skydiving, the student skydiver is connected to a harness that is attached to the instructor.

Mr Low's father Low Ah Buay told Shin Min Daily News: "He didn't tell us that he was going skydiving, otherwise I would have stopped him. My daughter is on her way back (from overseas). We'll likely wait for her to return before we fly to Sydney together."


He added: "I still can't believe the victim is my son. I don't understand why he would go skydiving. He's afraid of heights."

A friend who declined to be named and who works in Sydney told The Straits Times that the younger Mr Low was working or preparing to work at investment bank Credit Suisse in Sydney. She had met him briefly for the first time two to three weeks ago after someone introduced them.

She said: "He struck me as someone who's very sensible and knows what he's doing, not a wilful person. He was very keen to travel to different places. We were also talking about taking him to the Blue Mountains in Sydney."

Mr Low's former Maris Stella High School classmate Clinton Zheng, 29, who works in a venture capital group, said: "He was always very fit and athletic, adventurous and jovial. Physically, he was the fittest among our peers."

Mr Low's Facebook page shows that he had worked for Credit Suisse in Singapore and studied at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. He was also a fishing enthusiast.

A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is "deeply saddened" by the accident. He said the Singapore High Commission in Canberra is in contact with the family to provide consular assistance.

Meanwhile, Sydney Skydivers cancelled all jumps yesterday, out of respect for the victims. It said in a statement on Facebook yesterday that the incident was the first fatality involving a "first orientation tandem skydive", and Mr Lloyd, who was in his 60s, had made over 10,000 jumps in his 30-year career. Media reports said the firm had four other fatalities in the past 16 years.

The firm also said in its statement that the pair were on a routine leap that "was not especially challenging for a highly experienced instructor... the jump was from (a) normal height and it is not yet clear what occurred".

Asked whether it had been in contact with Mr Low's family, it told The Straits Times it was not commenting beyond its statement.

Police are investigating the cause of the accident, which occurred in Wilton, a town about 85km south-west of Sydney.

• Additional reporting by Jonathan Pearlman

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2017, with the headline 'S'porean victim in skydiving tragedy had a fear of heights'. Print Edition | Subscribe