Skydiver Found Dead in NorCal Vineyard

Friday, Jun 18, 2010  |  Updated 11:06 AM PDT
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Skydiver Found Dead in NorCal Vineyard

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A woman who used her own equipment to go skydiving on Thursday in a Central Valley town was later found dead, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department.

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A woman who used her own equipment to go skydiving on Thursday in a Central Valley town was later found dead, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Department.

The jumper, who was believed to be visiting from Belgium, had leapt from a plane operated by the Parachute Center in Acampo, Calif.

"It appears that her equipment failed to open," Deputy Les Garcia said. "It was her own personal equipment."

Her body was later found in a vineyard southwest of the center.

Garcia said deputies got a call around 11 a.m. about a skydiving accident. The victim, who was not named, pending notification of next-of-kin, was described as a white woman in her mid-30s. An investigation into the fatal jump is under way, Garcia said, and that the Federal Aviation Administration will get involved.

The woman's entire parachute harness came off her body, officials say. The parachute container and harness were found unopened on the edge of the vineyard. Her body was found more than 100 yards away from the parachute.

"When they found the container, the chest strap was undone, the leg straps were all the way out, and the automatic opening device was not activated, had not been turned on," Bill Dause from the Parachute Center said.

The woman had made hundreds of jumps before, according to people who knew her.

The Sheriff's Department said at this time, they are not calling the woman's death a suicide. However, officials said, they are not ruling out that possibility.

Two professional skydivers who left from the Acampo skydiving center in September died when their parachutes became tangled practicing for an event. The FAA investigated the center last fall.

Since 1999, there have been several skydiving deaths at the center -- two of which were ruled as suicides.

This article originally appeared on KCRA.com

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