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Saturday 7 December 2019

Skydiving accident claims life of Jack (27)

Abby Creane with her brother Jack who died tragically in a skydiving accident in New Zealand.
Abby Creane with her brother Jack who died tragically in a skydiving accident in New Zealand.
Abby and friends during the skydive to remember Jack.

Maria Pepper

The younger sister of adventurous Wexfordman John 'Jack' Creane who died tragically after a skydiving accident in New Zealand, scattered some of his ashes from the air during a tandem jump at the location where he was fatally injured.

Abby Creane overcame her fear to join some of Jack's friends in the sky high ceremony before returning home to Wexford last weekend with the remainder of his ashes to be buried in Crosstown Cemetery in the grave of their late parents John and Jeanne-Marie this coming Saturday afternoon.

'It was terrifying but so beautiful at the same time' said Abby, describing her 'first and only' sky dive, to honour her beloved 27-year old brother who sustained catastrophic head injuries in the accident at the Parakai airfield where skydiving centre Skydive Auckland is based.

Abby said it was not something she would ever have done but it was her way of proving to Jack that she can be brave now. 'Even as a child, it was always him going off on adventures and me tagging along', she said.

Abby was strapped to a Skydive Auckland instructor who released Jack's ashes into the air as some of his skydiving friends held hands with her in a formation. The emotional moment was captured on film by another friend.

Jack who had just completed a skydive training course and was about to join the full-time ground crew at Skydive, Auckland, was the only son of the late John and Jeanne-Marie Creane and grew up in Cromwellsfort Avenue, Wexford, attending the CBS secondary school.

After leaving school, he studied Music Production for a time in Pulse College in Dublin and worked as a DJ under the name Event Horizon and ran a company called Singularity Promotions. He had been living in New Zealand for about eight months, having left Ireland to go travelling around the world a few months following the untimely death of his mother Jeanne-Marie in December 2014 at the age of 47.

Among the locations he visited before starting the skydiving programme in New Zealand were Australia, Thailand, South East Asia and Europe.

An experienced skydiver, Jack was critically injured in the accident while landing after a solo jump on Friday, March 15, on the St. Patrick's weekend anniversary of the tragic passing of his father John of Maudlintown, who died at the age of 32 when he was assaulted outside a pub in New York 25 years ago.

Born in the US, Jack was two and a half years old at the time of his father's death while Abby was a baby and when Jack was nine, his mother Jeanne-Marie, originally from Manaquan, New Jersey, brought the two children to Wexford to grow up in their dad's native town.

Weather conditions on the day played a role in Jack's accident, according to Abby. There were strong, gusting winds and Jack was using a smaller parachute or canopy than usual, which would have been lighter.

The wind brought him down faster than expected and he was seriously injured when he hit the ground. He received first aid at the scene and was taken by ambulance to Auckland City Hospital where he was placed in an induced coma.

Devastated Abby boarded a plane to New Zealand within 12 hours of being informed of the accident and she travelled across the world to be by her brother's bedside. She was joined by an aunt and uncle who live in Australia.

Skydive Auckland's operations manager Fiona McLaren said she was deeply saddened by the death of the popular Irishman who was about to become a full-time ground crew member.

'After an uneventful skydive including a normal parachute deployment and parachute opening, Jack suffered serious injuries on landing, during a solo descent', she said.

'Skydive Auckland wishes to espress our deepest sympathy and condolences to his sister Abby Creane and his other family members and friends'.

Doctors told Abby that Jack had suffered extensive brain injuries and the heartbreaking decision was taken to switch off his life support. In line with his wishes, Jack's organs were donated and Abby said she hoped that some life will come from his death.

While in New Zealand, Abby was assisted by representatives of Skydive Auckland and Jack's friends and was the recipient of many messages of support from around the world.

Jack's body was cremated in New Zealand last week and half of his ashes brought up on his last skydive last Wednesday afternoon with the remainder due to be buried in Crosstown Cemetery this coming Saturday when a get-together for family and friends to remember Jack, will be held afterwards at 4 p.m. in the Sky and the Ground.

Two of Jack's friends have also been given small amounts of his ashes to scatter later in destinations which they had planned to visit together, including Chicago and a 20-20 base jump centre in Switzerland. Paying tribute to Jack, Abby who lives in Enniscorthy, described her brother as 'a true gentleman, very cool, completely adventurous, independent and confident'.

Jack is survived by his sister Abby; his niece Willow-Jeanne (Abby's daughter aged 17 months); his aunts, uncles and cousins in Wexford, the USA and Australia and his extended family and the many friends that he made around the world.

Wexford People

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