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Archive for Monday, June 18, 2001

Skydiver’s accident shocks friends

June 18, 2001

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— Geoffrey Peggs had done this more than 250 times before.

He owned his own parachute, kept his equipment in meticulous shape and had just been elected president of the skydiving club at Kansas State University.

None of that mattered on Friday, when 21-year-old Peggs became entangled in the lines of his parachute and fell to his death in a Sedgwick County cornfield.

He had jumped just before dusk from a plane at 11,000 feet and deployed his parachute at about 4,000 feet, which is normal.

The cords that became wrapped around Peggs' right arm and leg probably prevented him from deploying his reserve parachute, said Phil Haase, owner of the Air Capital Skydiving Center, where Peggs had made several other jumps.

Peggs had about half a minute, falling at speeds of about 60 to 70 mph, to figure out what to do.

"He had no way to get himself out of it," said Sedgwick County Sheriff's Sgt. David Hein.

Peggs, a journalism major who worked on the university's newspaper and yearbook staffs, made his first jump Oct. 17, 1999, according to the parachute club Web site.

He went on to become a U.S. Parachute Assn. static line jumpmaster. That allowed him to help beginners using equipment that deploys the parachute automatically.

Peggs had returned to Wichita this summer to be with family and work as an intern at the offices of an aircraft company, said Kurt Wooten, a friend and fellow parachute club member.

News of Peggs' death shocked members of the parachute club, who sat in hangars near Manhattan for hours Saturday before proceeding with the jumps they had planned, said Jesse Magana, safety and training advisor for the group.

"He would have been out here today if he could have."

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