Robert J. Bonadies died after rescuing Cynthia M. Hyland from falling, Ellington, Connecticut, May 6, 2002. Ms. Hyland, 42, and her skydiving instructors, Bonadies, 47, electrician, and another man, jumped from an aircraft at an altitude of 12,000 feet and began a stable free fall. Descending past the point at which students were to deploy their main parachutes, Ms. Hyland and her instructors went into an unstable formation, tumbling and increasing their speed. At 2,000 feet, the other instructor broke away and deployed his parachute, while Bonadies remained with Ms. Hyland. They continued to fall, and, at about 800 feet above ground level, Bonadies deployed Ms. Hyland’s main parachute. Her reserve opened immediately after. It was too late for Bonadies to deploy his own parachute, and he struck the ground and was killed. The other instructor and Ms. Hyland landed safely.
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Robert John Bonadies, 47, of Vernon, Conn., died on May 6, 2002. He was born in Hartford, Conn., on Nov. 24, 1954.
Bonadies was a loyal brother for IBEW Local #35 for almost 30 years and lived in Vernon for 21 years. He was a familiar sight throughout Tolland County, logging thousands of miles training for his marathons and races, as well as being the trainer for marathon runners and walkers.
Bonadies had been a president of the Connecticut Parachutists and a member of the United States Parachutists Association.
(Edited from the Hartford Courant, May 8-9, 2002.)