January 6, 2013 at 6:04 PM
Search suspended for skydiver who disappeared Thursday
The King County Sheriff’s Office has ended a search for a skydiver who has been missing since a jump from a helicopter near Mount Si on Thursday afternoon.
Over the past four days, 386 volunteers from 19 agencies have searched an area of about nine square miles for Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, Fla. The sheriff’s office helicopter also searched for three days from the air.
Ruppert jumped from 6,500 feet, wearing a wingsuit. Known as a “birdman suits” or “flying squirrel suits,” the suits have a webbed design featuring fabric or material between the legs and under the arms that increases a skydiver’s surface area, making the fall slower, and giving more horizontal glide.
Crews extensively searched a quarter-mile area that offered the most potential for finding him, given the helicopter’s flight path and information from Ruppert’s cell phone immediately after his jump.
Crews have completed searching areas that could be reached on foot, the sheriff’s office said. There are cliff areas that cannot be reached on foot because of the extreme risk they would pose to searchers, but the sheriff’s office said it will search those areas by helicopter when weather permits.
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