Friday, December 19, 2014

Man dies in skydiving incident near Ottawa

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/10/2014

A 54-year-old Wichita-area man died in an apparent skydiving mishap about 7:20 p.m. Saturday in a field near K-68, east of the Walmart Logistics distribution center on the outskirts of Ottawa, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene, Rick Geist, Franklin County undersheriff, said. Authorities had not released the man’s name as of 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s office and firefighters from Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison Fire Department and representatives from the skydiving company began the search Saturday when the skydiver did not land in the designated drop zone. The field was located about one mile from the drop zone, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration was expected to join the investigation Sunday, Geist said.

The skydiver was thought to be associated with Skydive Lawrence, also known as Kansas Drop Zone, and was taking part in the business’ grand opening this weekend at 3196 K-68 just east of Ottawa near where the man’s body was found. 

Kansas Drop Zone issued the following post on its Facebook page: “It is [with] heavy heart that I advise you it is true that [victim's name withheld] HAS gone west. On his 2nd jump of the day, based on the evidence at the scene, he failed to deploy main & fired his reserve too low for it to save him. The reserve was almost inflated at impact. The free bag was around 50 to 75 away.”

Wes McCauley, one of the owners of Skydive Lawrence, declined a request for an interview Sunday afternoon.

The jump was not associated with Skydive Kansas, Osage City, according to Jen Sharp, Ottawa, owner of Skydive Kansas.

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