A Florida man wearing a specially made skydiving suit remains missing after a jump on Thursday according to Yahoo News on Jan. 4. He leapt from a helicopter at 6,500 feet over the Cascade foothills east of Seattle, Wash.
Kurt Ruppert, 29, was put with friends who were taking turns jumping in the area when he went missing. Searchers are hoping his chute is hung up in a tree or that he is simply lost in the Mount Si area.
A number of factors have been complicating the search. While the flight plan for the helicopter is known, the suit Ruppert wore had fabric under the arms that acted like the wings of flying squirrel. These wings could allow him to float for great distances. Skydivers wearing these types of suits typically don’t deploy their parachutes until they reach an altitude of 2,000 feet.
The suit was made of brown and green fabric which could be acting like camouflage and hiding his whereabouts.
His two friends were waiting in a grassy clearing as Ruppert made his jump. They were unable to see if his chute opened from their location. The helicopter pilot was also not able to see any details about the jump as he was occupied with flying the craft safely.
Roughly four-dozen people searched on Thursday and then resumed searching Friday morning amidst a moderate fog. The search area is focused on a5-square-mile area that includes the 4,200 foot Mount Si. The mountain is treacherous with steep slopes, numerous trees and poor footing. When the fog lifted, a helicopter also joined in the search.
Temperatures have been in the 40s and friends say the clothing Ruppert was wearing would not be suitable for outdoor overnight conditions.
Ruppert is a seasoned skydiver and has experience with winged suits, according to a friend, Art Shaffer. The missing man is single. Shaffer is keeping in touch with Ruppert’s family and friends.
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