San Diego Woman Dies During Midnight Parachute Jump

A San Diego woman making a nighttime jump was killed in the first minute of the new year Wednesday after failing to open her parachute.

Gloria Radford, 32, died just one minute after midnight near the Perris Valley Airport and Parachuting Center, a spokesman for the Riverside County coroner said.

Radford, her husband and 20 other jumpers were trying to form a star at midnight to mark the beginning of the new year, said Deputy Coroner Rick Bogan. "She drifted away from the others . . . (and) for unknown reasons she failed to pull (the rip cord to open) her chute.

"We examined the chute later," Bogan said, "and both her main parachute and her reserve chute were in good condition."

A search for Radford's body lasted 10 hours Wednesday morning.

Radford, who worked as an air traffic controller in the San Diego area, was a veteran of more than 1,000 jumps, Bogan said.

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