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Three skydivers have died after they were involved in a suspected mid-air collision in Australia.

The victims – two men in their 30s and a woman in her 50s – were taking part in a jump at Mission Beach in Queensland.

Police believe a solo skydiver may have collided with tandem skydivers, with their parachutes failing to deploy correctly.

In a statement, Skydive Australia said: “One of the deceased, a highly experienced instructor who had completed thousands of jumps, was completing a solo jump.

“The other two were jumping as a tandem pair: a highly experienced instructor and a customer.

“Skydiving operations have been suspended at Mission Beach while the appropriate authorities conduct an extensive investigation.”

Senior Sergeant Peter Williamson, from Queensland state police, said: “It’s a horrific scene and it’s an unfortunate scene, and there’s going to be a lot of families very upset as a result of this.”

An eyewitness was quoted as saying: “You could see one chute was tangled and it wasn’t opening.

“I was just watching him in freefall until he went behind the trees, and that was the last I saw.”

The witness said it appeared the skydiver did not activate a back-up parachute after the first one failed.

It is understood one of the victims was found by a resident in their backyard, where he was later pronounced dead by paramedics.

The two others were discovered soon afterwards, where they had become entangled in a nearby tree. They were also pronounced dead.

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