Delco Mayor Dies in Skydiving Accident

Attorney C. Scott Shields, an experienced skydiver, often jumped at Cross Keys Airport

By Dan Stamm
|  Saturday, Mar 26, 2011  |  Updated 6:23 PM EDT
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<a title=Attorney C. Scott Shields died during a jump after his main parachute failed to open in Williamstown, NJ." />

NBCPhiladelphia.com - Monique Braxton

Attorney C. Scott Shields died during a jump after his main parachute failed to open in Williamstown, NJ.

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An experienced skydiver died during a jump Friday afternoon after his main parachute failed to open in Williamstown, N.J., according to authorities.

Medical officials responded to Cross Keys Airport after the jumper's main chute never deployed.

Delaware County attorney C. Scott Shields died in the incident, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

Shields was a graduate of the University of Florida and Widener School of Law who specialized in personal injury defense, according to his website.

The 45-year-old father of three was jumping with a group of skydivers.

For unknown reasons Shields never deployed his main chute and his emergency chute, which opens automatically, never fully inflated, witnesses told prosecutors.

"Apparently something occurred from the time he left the plane to the time he landed on the ground," said Williamstown Police Captain Joe Smart.

Officials say Shields landed in the trees near the airport around 4:25 p.m. A red parachute could be seen dangling in the nearby woods.

Shields was pronounced dead on arrival at Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, N.J.

Besides being an attorney he also served as the two-term mayor of Rutledge, Pa. and ran for judge back in 2007.

"I was completely shocked," said Rutledge Council President Greg Lebold. "Had so much to live for, enjoyed life, really did."

Shields’ grief-stricken friends and family turned to Facebook to remember Scott -- many of the posters wishing him "blue skies."

Freefall Adventures Inc. operates out of the airport on Dahlia Avenue. Shields had jumped with them before.

Despite the death, the company continued jumps Friday afternoon.

"The business has been there for numerous years," said Smart. "it’s been an extremely safe business and these things rarely happen for the amount of jumpers that do go there."

FAA officials will meet with prosecutors Saturday to inspect Shields parachute and rig, officials said.

There was no immediate official cause for Shields death.

A prayer vigil has been planned at the Borough Hall Monday night at 7 p.m.


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