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Tue, Jan 08, 2013

Search For Missing Skydiver Suspended In Washington State

Florida Man Jumped From A Helicopter Wearing A Wingsuit, Vanished

The ground search for a skydiver missing since Thursday was suspended by King County, WA, authorities Sunday with no trace of the missing 29-year-old Floridian having been found.

Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, FL, jumped from a helicopter near Washington's Mt Si on Thursday wearing a wingsuit and a parachute. He had been skydiving with two friends, taking turns jumping from the aircraft. Ruppert did not show up at the landing area, and no one reported seeing his chute deploy.

Authorities conducted a three-day air and ground search using King County Sheriff's Office helicopters, as well as 386 volunteers from 19 agencies covering a 9 square mile area, according to a report from television station KING. The search region was narrowed using information from Ruppert's cell phone as well as the helicopter's route of flight.

But the terrain is rugged, and the weather was uncooperative. The Sheriff said that the areas that could be searched on foot had been covered, and the air search would resume when the weather lifted. His wingsuit was reported to be green and brown, which would likely camouflage the skydiver in the woods. But his parachute was said to be bright blue.

Ruppert reportedly was an experienced skydiver and wingsuit flyer, according to his friend Skydive Palatka (FL) owner Art Shaffer.

(Wingsuit flyers pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff.aspx

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