(WMC-TV) - Fayette County Sheriff's Department confirms the skydiver who went missing after a jump Monday was found dead after nearly a six-hour search in a wooded area.
According to the sheriff's department, the skydiver was jumping from West Tennessee Skydiving facility when he may have run into some trouble with the parachute.
A woman with West Tennessee Skydiving told Action News 5 that the people jumping came from a group called "Halo Jumper," which stands for High Altitude Low Opening.
Randy Mathews was one of seven people from around the country who made the jump known as a thrill jump. The skydivers use oxygen for the free fall portion of the jump in minus 40 degree temperatures.
Investigators found his body about one mile from the drop zone. He still had his oxygen mask on, but his parachute was not fully deployed.
"It appears that the parachute did not open, but we are not sure what the circumstances are a chute malfunctioned or something medical or what," said Ray Garcia, Fayette County Sheriff's Office.
Investigators say Mathews parachute did not have an automatic open on it.
The skydiver went missing around 11:30 a.m. Monday. According to the Halo Jumper owner, Kevin Holbrook, Mathews was licensed and qualified to do the jump.
"He left the plane very bright alert full of energy. We understood he was going to do some acrobatics in free fall, and that may have disoriented him," said Holbrook.
Holbrook added that the jumpers move away from each other for safety reasons, so nobody saw what happened to Mathews.
The group was jumping from 28,000 feet in the air.
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