An expert skydiver with more than 680 jumps under his belt, died in a freak accident in Delmas, South Africa, when his head slammed into his friend’s thigh during a jump, causing their parachutes to collide mid-air.

Hilmar Backer always made sure he followed the safety protocols, however, despite his efforts, the freak accident that occurred earlier this month, unfortunately, claimed his life 

His friend, Rudi Serfontein, miraculously survived the accident with minor injuries. 

Backer is being remembered by his devastated friends and people in his community

"He was the glue that held the four of us together. We were one another’s comrades. Now we can’t imagine jumping again – not without Hilmar," Backer’s friend Jogie Botma told YOU Magazine.

"We’re certain of one thing, though: he died doing the thing that brought him the greatest joy in life."

He said Hilmar’s death will "leave a void in so many people’s lives".

"You know, you form a bond with that person. I believe there are three types of friends," Botma continued.

"You get friends, you get brothers and then you get those friends whom you trust with your life – Hilmar was one of those guys."

Backer’s devastated friends praised their late buddy for giving out positive energy to everyone he met.

A friend, Dylan Whitehair, told Lowvelder: "Just his general way of sending love out into the world, it was on a whole other level."

The reason behind the mid-air collision is currently unknown, according to Marie Brey, acting head of communication of the Civil Aviation Authority.

"Information is still being gathered in collaboration with the Parachute Association of South Africa and the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre," it said in a statement.

As a tribute to Hilmar, heartbroken Botma released a video on Facebook with a short film of one of their last successful jumps.

"Our last big BASE trip with Hilmar Backer," he wrote.

"Boy what an awesome memory it was! Wouldn’t want to share this with anyone other than Hilmar, Rudi, and Dylan."

"Watch this space for another more awesome video in the memory of Hilmar!"

Skydiving Representation image. Pixabay