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East Meadow resident dies at 27 after skydiving accident


A 27-year old East Meadow woman died after sustaining serious injuries related to a parachuting accident in Massachusetts on June 2.

Alexis Zayas was skydiving at Jumptown Skydiving in Orange, MA., when she “veered off course” and collided with a barn, according to the office of the Northwestern district attorney.

“My daughter has been described as a free spirit since she was born,” said Zayas’s mother Ava Jacobs, recalling the photo taken at her daughter’s first skydiving trip. “I remember the look on her face. It was just the most exuberant, joyous thing,” she said. “I didn’t realize she was giving the world the finger,” Jacobs added with a laugh, noting that her daughter had posed with both middle fingers up.

Recently, many of Zayas’s friends share photos and memories on social media with the hash tag “livelikeAlexis.” “She’s got my philosophy on life,” Jacobs said. “If someone invites you to do something, you go. Human opportunities don’t wait.”

Zayas had completed 15 tandem jumps and three solo jumps prior to skydiving on June 2. Jacobs went with her on the trip and said that she saw her daughter jump out of the plane and, seconds later, saw a parachute drift off in another direction, not realizing it belonged to Zayas. At the time, Jacobs thought that her daughter completed the jump, but later found out what had happened.

After the accident, Zayas was rushed to Athol Memorial Hospital in Athol, then UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where she died on June 4.

A spokesman from Jumptown Skydiving, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that this is the first case of its kind at the skydiving company, which has been in operations since 1959. The Orange Police Department and Massachusetts State Police are currently investigating the case.

Zayas, who was born on March 26, 1991, had completed her police academy test and was working to become a special victims cop working with abused woman and children. In the interim, she was working as a swim instructor at Safe-T-Swim and a respite caregiver.

“She’s just got such a caring, giving nature,” her mother said, adding that she donated her hair to Locks for Love as a child, always encourages her friends to donate blood, worked as the lifeguard at neighborhood children’s parties and has dedicated her life to charitable causes.

Zayas’s brothers Daniel, 22, and Matthew, 24, were her closest friends, her mother said, adding that Zayas had their names tattooed against her ankles because she saw herself as their protector.

There was a memorial service for Zayas at Temple Emanu-El in East Meadow on Wednesday at 3 p.m., at which her friends and family shared memories and commemorated her legacy.