Siblings sue over trauma of mum’s death in skydiving tragedy
The careers of a promising young law student and her brother, a Navy aviation technician, are in tatters after their mother's tragic death in a skydiving tragedy allegedly left them with nervous shock.
Katrelle Pike, 21, from Garners Beach, south of Cairns, and her older brother Jamie Pike, 28, from Sydney's CBD, have sued skydiving company Australia Skydive after their mum Kerri died aged 54 during a jump given to her by her husband Alister for her 54th birthday
The siblings, two of eight siblings, had their whole lives ahead of them when they were told their mum had died on her first skydive on October 13, 2017.
But after overcoming the grief of her sudden death they claim in court that they have been left with nervous shock which has caused a major depressive disorder.
In separate legal claims filed in the District Court in Cairns, the siblings allege that their mother died in a high speed mid-air collision with skydiver Toby Turner, whose parachute opened prematurely over Mission Beach in Far North Queensland.
They claim that Turner, who also died, was responsible for the accidental collision because he was wearing his own parachute which was packed in a container which was too big, so that the strong winds caused the parachute to open when he flew in the "back to earth" position below Pike.
The siblings claim Australia Skydive is vicariously liable for Turner's negligence.
Pike was doing a tandem jump with instructor Peter Dawson, 35, who also died.
Katrelle claims she has "distressing dreams of her mother in anguish" and intrusive and distressing recollections of the accident scene and has a sense of vulnerability for herself, her baby son and her family.
She says she is currently unable to return to any job and that she was unable to cope with full time work as an electoral officer in the Mt Isa office of Bob Katter MP.
Katrelle, who was 18 at the time of her mum's death, was studying law and intended to work in government relations once she graduated.
Now a mum of a one year old son, she has now dropped out of her law degree which she would have completed in June this year, her claim states.
She hopes to be able to work part time in the future and is claiming $684,911 in damages.
Jamie Pike, who is claiming $750,000 in damages, states in his claim that his mental trauma from the death of his mother has caused him to lose interest in pursuing his Navy career.
He was due to be medically discharged from the Navy last week, his claim states.
He suffered anxiety and triggering of his psychiatric condition when exposed to aircraft or air travel, and when confronted with the prospect of being exposed to death of dead bodies.
Had he stayed in the Navy he would likely have been promoted and earned up to $2.8m as he rose through the ranks, his claim states.
Jamie states in his claim that he was away from home on deployment with the Navy in Vanuatu helping to evacuate locals from a feared volcano eruption when he was mistakenly told his father had been injured in a car accident.
He tried to call his mum but when he couldn't reach her he phoned his father Alister who "yelled" at him: "Your mother is dead", his claim states.
Alister was on the beach to watch his wife's skydive with another of their children, the inquest into her death heard.
Katrelle claims she was at work when she was told that her mums skydive had "been diverted due to safety concerns".
She drove to Mission Beach and on her way her father phoned her to say that her mum had died.
She was shocked and extremely distressed when she arrived at the scene and was confronted with a white sheet covering the bodies.
No defence has been filed and no hearing date has been set.
Originally published as Siblings sue over trauma of mum's death in skydiving tragedy