A Georgia teen on her first skydive and a veteran instructor died when their chutes failed

Jeanna Triplicata turned 18 in May, graduated high school and had her sights set on college.

Atlanta (CNN)Jeanna Triplicata wasn't a thrill-seeker, but she decided to try something daring after graduating high school: going skydiving for the first time.

The 18-year-old and an experienced instructor died when something went wrong on the tandem jump in Thomaston, Georgia, on Sunday.
As her siblings and parents watched from the ground, they saw a parachute spinning and a pair of people somersaulting in the sky. They later learned it was Jeanna.
"We were all so looking forward to after she landed and to talk to her and hear her story," her father, Joey Triplicata, told CNN. "I feel like we were robbed of that and now we're robbed of the rest of her life. It's so painful."
The teenager from Newnan and instructor Nick Esposito, 35, of Warner Robins, died at the scene, Upson County Sheriff Dan Kilgore said in a statement provided to CNN. The sheriff's office is investigating the accident.
"Upon exiting the aircraft, the primary parachute failed to open properly and went into a spin," Kilgore said in the statement. The emergency parachute deployed at a very low altitude but it never fully opened, he added.
The sheriff said Esposito was an experienced skydiver and an employee of Skydive Atlanta, based at the Thomaston-Upson County Airport, about 60 miles south of Atlanta.
Adding to the tragedy is that skydiving deaths are rare. In 2019, there were 15 fatal skydiving accidents in the United States out of about 3.3 million jumps, according to the United States Parachute Association. Tandem skydiving -- what Triplicata was doing -- is even safer, with one student death per 500,000 tandem jumps in the past decade, according to USPA.
Jeanna will never get to walk across the stage at her high school graduation, which was rescheduled for the end of July because of the pandemic. She won't get to attend the University of North Georgia. She won't become an English teacher, like her father said she aspired to do.
Triplicata said it tears at his heart that he won't get to see the person his eldest child would have become.
"We're a close family -- not a big family, but we're very close," Joey Triplicata said.
Triplicata, 43, described Jeanna as an atypical teenager. He said his daughter was "special" and she never gave her mother and father trouble.
"She was very family-oriented, and she wanted to do the right things in life," he said. "She wasn't a rule breaker. When we bought her first car, she didn't want anything flashy or that would stand out."
The teen had just graduated from Northgate High School, where she was on the color guard team. She was the captain her senior year and she enjoyed performing alongside her brother, 15-year-old Giovanni, who was in the band.
Jeanna was obsessed with singer-songwriter Harry Styles. She had seen one of his concerts and was set to attend another one next year, which was postponed because of the coronavirus. She was wearing a Harry Styles shirt the day she went skydiving, her father said.
Her other passions included Disney's "The Little Mermaid," even though it wasn't the coolest thing for an "elder teen" to like, her dad said. She was also a big "Grey's Anatomy" fan, always trying to get her parents to watch it, which they never did.
"Right now, I can't even imagine enjoying a TV show," her father said. "When we do, we're certainly going to watch it and think of her."
Jeanna was very close with her grandmother, Renee Sands. She would sleep over at her grandmother's and they'd watch "Grey's Anatomy" together.