Investigation continues after Kansas skydiver's body located

AP News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2016 1:58 PM

CUSHING, Okla. (AP) — Investigators are trying to determine how a Kansas skydiver was separated from her parachute and harness during a jump in Oklahoma.

The body of 26-year-old Sheralynn Neff of Newton, Kansas, was found Monday morning by authorities south of an airport near Cushing, Oklahoma. Neff was reported missing on Sunday after she made a jump with the Oklahoma Skydiving Center.

Cushing police Chief Tully Folden says Neff's parachute and harness were found in a tree about 5 miles away.

"The only part that actually occurred in Cushing is when she got on the airplane," Folden said. "The rest of it occurred in Lincoln County, and the parachute itself was found in rural Payne County. We've got several different organizations that are having to work on this (investigation) together."

Lincoln County Sheriff Charlie Dougherty said Neff was the last person to jump out of the airplane Sunday afternoon.

"We're going to do the best we can to figure out what happened," Folden said.

The Federal Aviation Association is assisting with the investigation, according to The Oklahoman (http://bit.ly/2awVNm2 ). FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford has said the agency's main focus is determining whether the parachute was packed properly and if the harness was in good shape.

No obvious answers were revealed by a preliminary examination.

According to Lunsford, the agency's oversight of skydiving schools focuses on the aircraft's safety and the pilot qualifications. Lunsford said the agency requires that parachutes be packed by people who are properly trained.

The owner of the Oklahoma Skydiving Center, Andy Beck, declined to comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

"(Beck) would never put someone in the sky that was not ready to be in the sky," said Loren Coburn, a Norman resident who jumps with the center. "The reason my son is just over 18 and has over 140 jumps is because I felt he would be safe there. With the training and everything that goes on there and the safety checks, double checks, triple checks. I have always been confident with him going there."

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com