Skydiver never activates ripcord, falls to his death

Without ever activating his ripcord, a skydiver was killed Wednesday when he jumped from a plane and fell to the Earth in eastern San Diego County, officials said.

Authorities said that when they arrived about 10:21 a.m. at  Skydive San Diego in Jamul, the skydiver was dead.


Buzz Fink, the facility's owner, said the 53-year-old San Diego man was wearing new equipment and turned off his activation device, which automatically opens the parachute, before jumping.

The man, Fink said, jumped off the plane, was in a free fall for about a minute and landed in the drop zone.

With at least 30 years of skydiving experience, the man was a regular at the facility, stopping by three to four times a month to skydive, Fink said.

Fink said the skydiver was apparently depressed and going through a divorce.

The owner said his employees have been second-guessing themselves, asking whether there was something they could have done to prevent his death.

"I wish that he could have gotten the help before doing this," Fink said.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the Federal Aviation Administration and San Diego County medical examiner are investigating the death.

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