Skydiver dies after jumping from plane without chute

1:53 PM, Jun 9, 2008   |    comments
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A 29-year old man from Schenectady, New York jumped from a plane that was flying 10-thousand feet in the air and landed on a house in Duanesburg. New York State police say the dead man told a skydiving club he just wanted to take some photographs but then unhooked his seatbelt and dove out of the plane without a parachute. "This guy wasn't a jumper. He just wanted to go for an observer ride," said Duanesburg Skydiving School Owner and pilot Bob Rawlins. That observer ride resulted in 29-year old Sloan Carafello falling 10-thousand feet and hitting a house. State Troopers said that it came during a routine flight from the Duanesburg Skydiving Club. A student jumped with his instructor, followed by a skydiving videographer who was there to tape the first-timer's jump. Just before the door was shut, Carafello jumped out and took a picture of himself as he did. Police say the videographer actually caught the incident on tape. That tape is now with police. "I reached over to shut the door when the jumpers left and he was right behind them," said Rawlins. "He took pictures of himself in freefall." Those in the plane said they checked Carafello's seat belt before they jumped and it was solid. Rawlins says Carafello was supposed to sit and watch and take pictures but he unhooked his belt and was gone too. They said Carafello called last week and showed up on a bicycle but it was after a flight and he left. "He said he had a school project he wanted to do and was taking a shot from an airplane. A lot of people have requests. So we took the kid up and he decided to end his life here," said the pilot. But Carafello, who lived at the YMCA in Schenectady, was back with a camera in hand, ready to go, and signed a waiver to go up. "Reached over to get the door and he's gone. Couldn't stop him. It's a wonder he didn't drag me out," said Rawlins. Police say the student and instructor never know what happened until they reached the ground and were told. Carafello's camera has not been found.

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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