KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A quadriplegic man with five years of skydiving experience died in a weekend skydiving accident in northwestern Montana, Flathead County officials said Monday.
Sheriff Chuck Curry said Zack Fogle, 27, of Kingston, Wash., died last weekend when his parachute did not open during 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 with handles located where he could operate them with his hands, 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.
"He jumped with someone who assisted him out of the airplane," White said.
Fogle apparently was on his back while he was falling and was unable to get turned around and facing down so he could deploy his chute, White said. "It was more of a state of being out-of-control in his free fall," he said.
Fogle didn't deploy his primary or emergency parachutes, and an emergency deployment mechanism that would have released his emergency chute as a fail-safe had not been properly activated prior to the jump.
"His equipment was determined to be current in inspections and service and was in proper working order," Curry said in a news release.
White said he learned that Fogle also had a custom motorcycle built to accommodate his disability.
It is the second consecutive year a skydiver has died during the Lost Prairie Boogie. Last July, Garl "Mike" Newby, 57, of Colorado Springs, Colo., died after his main parachute became entangled with another man's chute. Officials said he removed his main chute but did not have enough time to deploy his reserve chute.