I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with a better way to say it, but that’s all I got: this last weekend sure sucked the mighty one. Here is the most depressing holiday news wrap-up I hope we’ll ever post.
Every one of these incident subjects had thousands of skydives over many years in the sport and was very current.
Mike, with his partner Sue Clifton, was founder and brains of the iconic Skydiving Magazine. The latest confirmed information we have is that he had a hard opening on a canopy he packed himself at Skydive Deland on Saturday. He was reportedly observed limp under canopy and impacted a truck in a school bus parking lot on the airport grounds. He was airlifted off scene with multiple critical injuries. He’s had an initial successful surgery, is on a ventilator, and is not expected to regain the use of his arms or legs; doctors estimate he will be a quadriplegic.
News link: Daytona Beach News Journal
BSBD Larry Elmore, 1940-2013
On Saturday at Skydive Palatka, World Team member Larry Elmore reportedly had a low cutaway and died upon impact. Larry was a retired commercial pilot and the Florida state record holder for most jumps in one day with 72, done on his 70th birthday in 2011.
News link: The Gainesville Sun
BSBD Ken Oka, 1951-2013
On Saturday at Skydive Elsinore, Ken Oka was reportedly involved in a CRW entanglement and landed in a residential neighborhood. He was transported to the hospital where he was declared dead. Ken was founder of the popular Oka Cup CRW events.
News link: CBS LA
BSBD Cliff Schmucker, 1955-2013
On Monday at Skydive Warren County in Ohio, SSK owner and PIA President Cliff Schmucker was involved in a freefall collision. He landed in a nearby golf course and transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
News link: WCPO
Statement from PIA:
Dear Fellow PIA Members and Friends:
It is with deepest sorrow that I inform you of the death of our dear friend, Cliff Schmucker, who was involved in a skydiving accident on Sunday, 26 May 2013, at his home DZ in Waynesville, Ohio.
Cliff served us as Parachute Industry Association president for almost 20 years, and under his leadership the sphere of influence of the PIA grew and prospered exponentially. Cliff will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.
Arrangements will be announced as they develop
PIA Executive Advisor
5/29: edited to correct Ken’s accident day from Sunday to Saturday