A Gloucester County skydiving company has filed for bankruptcy, but it says its daredevil fun will continue nonetheless.
Freefall Adventures' petition for Chapter 11 - a designation that allows businesses to reorganize during financial hardship - was recorded in federal bankruptcy court this month.
The company, which operates out of Cross Keys Airport in Monroe Township, is a mainstay in the regional skydiving community, though it has also gained attention over the years for accidents and fatalities, risks commonly associated with the sport.
In August, the company's owners, John and Agnes Eddowes, also filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which allows individuals to restructure debt payments.
The personal bankruptcy documents indicate assets totaling about $6.4 million, with total liabilities of approximately $2.4 million. Freefall's Oct. 2 filing lists assets under $50,000 and liabilities of more than $1 million up to $10 million.
John Eddowes refused to discuss the bankruptcy filings when reached Monday afternoon, saying only. "We are open for business."
In its petition, Freefall makes note of $50,000 owed to a Georgia-based aircraft repair firm. An attorney for Freefall confirmed that two planes were taken off-line for a period for repairs, which reduced revenue.
"You have creditors that demand to be paid," said Lewis Adler, based in Woodbury.
A 2011 lawsuit by the Georgia repair company, National Aerotech Aviation, sought outstanding payments from John Eddowes for repairs in excess of $120,000, plus interest. It was settled.
"It was just standard heavy maintenance and upgrades," said Kevin Williams, general manager with National Aerotech Aviation, which had previously worked with Freefall. "There is money still owed."
Recent filings in Georgia show the company is still seeking payment from Eddowes. A federal district judge last week put all matters in that case on hold pending the bankruptcy proceedings.
Freefall's bankruptcy court filing also makes note of a negligence lawsuit.
That suit was filed in April by a customer, Reginald Wood, who broke his legs during a "tandem jump" in May 2012, said Wood's attorney, Salvatore Imbornone Jr.
Imbornone said the accident occurred because the instructor "miscalculated the landing zone," causing the pair to crash into a car upon landing in a parking lot. Imbornone could not say whether the instructor was also injured.
In April, a 49-year-old skydiving enthusiast from New York fell to his death in Washington Township after issues with his parachute.
Last year, there were 24 fatalities out of an estimated 3.2 million jumps in the country, according to the U.S. Parachute Association. It was not immediately clear Monday how Freefall's accident rate compares.
Adler said lawsuits such as Wood's were not a determining factor in the bankruptcy filing. It "has nothing to do with skydiving whatsoever," he said.