Quadriplegic Skydiver Plunges To His Death

A quadriplegic skydiver fell 18,000 feet to his death in Salmon, Idaho, because he wasn't able to deploy his parachute.

The victim, 27-year-old Zack Fogle of Kingston, Washington, was a veteran skydiver, having gone on 125 jumps in the past five years. The fatal accident occurred Saturday, when Fogle and seven other skydivers jumped out of a plane at an event that drew many parachutists to the region. Both Fogle's main chute and backup failed to open, causing him to hit the ground at an estimate 120 miles per hour.

Based on an examination of video and statements made by witnesses, there appeared to be no malfunctions in Fogle's equipment. Rather, Fogle's disability prevented him from deploying the main chute, and he had neglected to set up his backup chute to open on its own. Rumors that it might have been a suicide were dismissed by Flathead County Undersheriff Jordan White:

"Zack died with another jump pass in his pocket," said White. "He was living his dream. His was an incredible story of his drive to live and to excel in this sport despite being disabled from an (automobile) accident when he was a junior in high school."

The accident comes just weeks after a double-amputee US Army veteran plunged to his death on a rollercoaster at Darien Lake Theme Park in Buffalo, New York. [Reuters, screengrab via KOMO News]