Crews spend 4th day looking for missing Wash. skydiver

Crews spend 4th day looking for missing Wash. skydiver
A King County Sheriff's Office helicopter is seen during the search on Thursday evening.

NORTH BEND, Wash. - Rescue crews are spending their fourth straight day looking for a skydiver who vanished during a jump above Washington's Cascade foothills.

King County sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West says searchers were back out near 4,200-foot Mount Si east of Seattle at first light Sunday, hoping to find 29-year-old Kurt Ruppert of Lake City, Fla.

Ruppert hasn't been seen since he jumped out of a helicopter at 6,500 feet Thursday afternoon, wearing a special wing suit with fabric under the arms to allow him to glide like a flying squirrel.

Crews narrowed their search area on Saturday, based on data from Ruppert's cell phone and the helicopter's flight path, but still haven't found any sign of him.

He was skydiving with two friends, and they were taking turns jumping from the helicopter. The friends were waiting at a grassy landing area, but no one saw whether Ruppert's chute deployed.

West said they made the decision to narrow the search area based on the flight pattern of the helicopter he jumped from and information from his cellphone's location just before the jump.

Ruppert has been skydiving seven or eight years and is good at handling a wing suit, said a friend, Art Shaffer, owner of Skydive Palatka in Palatka, Fla.

Shaffer jumped with Ruppert at midnight on New Year's Eve and said Ruppert left Tuesday to jump with friends in Washington.

Ruppert is not married and once owned a landscaping business, said Shaffer, who is in contact with Ruppert's family and friends.