Burson, Timothy E.; Brooks, Bradley W.; Pupchek, Leanne S.
October 2010
Journal of Critical Incidents;Oct2010, Vol. 3, p110
Academic Journal
James La Barrie, general manager of Skydive Carolina faced a serious crisis on January 31, 2009, when skydiving instructor Chip Steele suffered a heart attack and died in mid-air on a tandem jump with student Daniel Pharr. Pharr guided the parachute down safely and emerged unhurt, but the media quickly picked up on the story and began giving it extensive coverage. La Barrie, general manager of Skydive Carolina, desired to manage the flow of information to ensure reports were accurate while also being sensitive to the needs of a variety of stakeholders: Steele, Steele’s family, Pharr, and Skydive Carolina. After a few days of hectic communication, La Barrie received a call from a representative of ABC’s Good Morning Show requesting he appear along with Pharr and Pharr’s family. La Barrie was forced to decide whether to appear on the show. He was also forced to make a quick decision how to manage Skydive Carolina’s market image after this horrific tragedy.


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