Washington Ground Search for Skydiver Ends, Man Still Missing
386 volunteers and 19 agencies scoured a 9-square-mile (23.3 km) area
Kurt Ruppert, a skydiver from Florida, is still missing as the ground search for him in Washington state comes to an end.The Sammamish Patch details the rescue party's four-day effort, which did not reveal the whereabouts of the 29-year-old skydiver.
Nonprofit King County Search and Rescue Association rep David Wallace explains that rescuers expected to find him alive.
“His family says he's very strong. Some people come out after three, four, five days. [...] Each day that goes by we are more concerned,” Wallace says.
Ruppert had “a knife and relatively thin suit and long underwear” when he disappeared. His condition upon landing decided his faith afterwards, he adds. Ruppert could have used his parachute to fashion a shelter.
Ruppert vanished on Mount Si after jumping out of a helicopter, Kiro Tv reports. He wore a winged suit at the time.
The helicopter's flight pattern was analyzed to determine where his landing spot could have been.
“When he jumped, likely he flew at least some distance before he deployed his parachute - if he even got the parachute deployed,” Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office told reporters.
The skydiver jumped from an altitude of 6,500 feet (1981 m), and would have faced freezing temperatures, rain and snow on the mountain. The helicopter pilot did not see any parachute being deployed.
A total of 19 different agencies employed their staff, searching the young man on a 9-square-mile (23.3 km) area. 386 volunteers joined the search party. The Seattle Mountain Rescuers, as well as Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia mountain rescue teams contributed to the ground search.
They scoured all areas that were accessible on foot, without putting the volunteers at risk. The King County Sheriff’s Office also deployed a helicopter, for a 3-day search.
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