Skydiver missing near Seattle thought to be dead

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 7, 2013 at 1:19 pm •  Published: January 7, 2013
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SEATTLE (AP) — The search for a wing suit-wearing skydiver in the Washington Cascade foothills will continue by helicopter as the weather allows, but officials don't expect to find him alive.

No one saw a parachute Thursday, and if Kurt Ruppert, 29, of Lake City, Fla., survived the jump and was caught in a tree or lost in the forest, he likely died of hypothermia, a King County sheriff's sergeant said.

"We just don't think he survived at this point," Sgt. Cindi West said Monday.

Dozens of searchers were out four days "calling and calling," West said. "If he survived he wasn't conscious enough to yell to us."

It snowed Thursday night and temperatures have been in the 30s and 40s around Mount Si, a steep and heavily forested 4,200-foot peak about 30 miles east of Seattle.

Searchers covered 9 square miles before the ground search was suspended Sunday. Fog on Monday prevented a helicopter search.

Ruppert was taking turns with two friends who were waiting at the grassy landing zone when he jumped out of a helicopter at 6,500 feet and disappeared.

The webbed wing suit allows a skydiver to glide at up to 100 miles per hour, so Ruppert could have covered a lot of ground, West said.



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