Quadriplegic skydiver falls to death

August 2, 2011

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KALISPELL, Mont. - A quadriplegic man with five years of skydiving experience died in a weekend skydiving accident in northwestern Montana, Flathead County officials said yesterday.

Sheriff Chuck Curry said Zack Fogle, 27, of Kingston, Wash., died Saturday afternoon when his parachute failed to open after a jump at the 44th annual Lost Prairie Boogie, a 10-day skydiving event near Marion that typically draws hundreds of participants.

Fogle had limited mobility in his extremities after being struck by a car in high school, but had a custom-built parachute and was certified as a skydiver, Undersheriff Jordan White said. Fogle had completed more than 125 jumps and had participated in the Lost Prairie Boogie before.

The accident happened on Fogle’s first jump at this year’s event, White said.

An investigation found Fogle failed to manually deploy his primary or emergency parachutes, and an emergency deployment mechanism had not been properly activated before the jump.

It is the second consecutive year that a skydiver has died during the Lost Prairie Boogie. Last July, Garl “Mike’’ Newby, 57, of Colorado Springs, died after his main parachute became entangled with another man’s chute.

Officials said Newby did not have enough time to deploy his reserve chute.

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