Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Authorities identify man in skydiving incident

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 8/11/2014

Authorities have identified the 54-year-old Wichita man who died in an apparent skydiving mishap Saturday evening near Ottawa as Brad Giffin.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a missing skydiver about 7:20 p.m. Saturday and found Giffin’s body a short time later in a field near K-68, east of the Walmart Logistics distribution center on the outskirts of Ottawa, according to a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office news release issued Monday morning.

Authorities have identified the 54-year-old Wichita man who died in an apparent skydiving mishap Saturday evening near Ottawa as Brad Giffin.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a missing skydiver about 7:20 p.m. Saturday and found Giffin’s body a short time later in a field near K-68, east of the Walmart Logistics distribution center on the outskirts of Ottawa, according to a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office news release issued Monday morning.

Giffin was an experienced skydiver who had logged more than 500 jumps, the sheriff’s office news release said.

Giffin was pronounced dead at the scene, Rick Geist, Franklin County undersheriff, said.

Firefighters from Lincoln-Ottawa-Harrison Fire Department and representatives from the skydiving company joined the sheriff’s office in 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.

Giffin 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.

Authorities have not released details about the incident, but a post on Kansas Drop Zone’s Facebook page provided some insight into the ill-fated jump: “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.

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