Search Continues For Skydiver Missing After Jump Near Cascades
The search for a skydiver missing after a jump in Washington state continued on Saturday as authorities narrowed their search.
The man, 29-year-old Kurt Ruppert, from Lake City, Florida, went missing on Thursday after he jumped from a helicopter at 6,500 feet.
Authorities have used cellphone signals and the helicopter’s flight path to narrow their search for the missing skydiver to a quarter-square-mile area on Mount Si, which lies east of Seattle.
Sergeant Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office stated that Ruppert’s cellphone is no longer working, reports The Los Angeles Times.
Ruppert was wearing a winged suit that allows skydivers to glide for a long time before they have to deploy their parachute. Two skydivers who went with the Florida man waited for him at the designated landing area, but he never arrived.
There were about 145 rescuers looking for the skydiver on Saturday, though the temperature hovered around 40 degrees and West stated that Ruppert was not prepared for cold weather.
Fox News notes that several factors have made it difficult in the search for the missing skydiver, including the flying suit he was wearing, as well as the fact that no one spotted where he jumped out, or whether his parachute deployed or not. West added:
“We’ve got a lot of search and rescues up here every year. It’s dangerous and difficult. The footing is bad and there are lots of cliffs.”
Ruppert has been skydiving for more than seven years and has a lot of experience handling a winged suit, according to friend Art Shaffer, who owns Skydive Palatka in Palatka, Florida.
Searchers were set to stop for the night on Saturday, but will resume looking for the missing skydiver on Sunday. He is wearing a brown and green jumpsuit, which could help him blend into the terrain, making it difficult to find him.