Local News

Search continues for missing skydiver

skydiver rescue

A view of Mount Si, near North Bend, Wash.

NORTH BEND, Wash. — For a third day, the search for a missing 29-year-old Florida man who was skydiving near Mount Si came up empty Saturday afternoon.

The skydiver has been identified as Kurt Ruppert, 29, of Lake City, Fla. Ruppert was a member of the skydiving club, Skydive Palatka.

“Around 2:30 p.m. (Thursday), a helicopter pilot called the Sheriff’s Office and said that a man had skydived out of his helicopter and did not show up at the landing zone after the jump,” Sgt. Cindi West said. “The pilot said a group of three men were alternating going up in the helicopter to jump; one would jump while the others waited at the landing zone.

“The men were on their second round of jumps when the man disappeared. The pilot said the men were jumping from approximately 6,500 feet near a peak on the west side of the mountain. The peak near the jump location is approximately 2,500 feet. The men waiting at the landing zone said their line of sight was blocked so they did not see the man jump out of the helicopter,” she said.

A crew of more than 100 search and rescue workers continued searching for the missing Ruppert on Saturday; West said they were unable to use a helicopter in the search Saturday due to weather conditions. The rescue operation is difficult because it covers such a large area, about 5 square miles.

Ruppert, an experienced skydiver, was wearing a wing suit when he jumped, so it is possible he could have gone some distance. Investigators said they do not know if his parachute deployed. Crews do not believe he is near any trails in the area, so they are searching rough terrain and ravines.


24 Comments to “Search continues for missing skydiver”

    My View said:
    January 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Why would anyone skydive in an area that had a specific National weather service high wind warning forecasted. I don't care how experienced of a skydiver you are, you are not prepared for the type of wind that's around North Bend and that comes from a life long resident, experienced skydiver, and FAA certified parachute rigger. Hope the pilot filed a notum with the FAA.

      Glenn said:
      January 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      I think you mean NOTAM and why would the pilot file a NOTAM

        john said:
        January 4, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        hazards such as air-shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, rocket launches, etc.

        My View said:
        January 5, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Because they are required to for skydiving activity.

    Kathy said:
    January 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Instead of crabbing about something that already occurred, why don't you pray for the family and hope for safety for the skydiver? I am praying because he is part of my family.

      Reality said:
      January 8, 2013 at 5:34 PM

      Instead of talking to a make-believe-invisible-sky-fairy, why don't you go out and do something meaningful like, I don't know, look for him? Praying, hahaha.

    Julia Scarberry said:
    January 11, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    I wonder what happened. Hope the man is okay. it is possible that he might have been trapped in a place where he could not go down or call for help due to its isolation. I also think that they made the wrong decision in pursuing such dangerous activity at a time when the weather is not clear.

    Julia Scarberry said:
    January 11, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    The place looks difficult to search because of the mountains and the fog. The weather does not seem to cooperate which makes he situation worse.

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