Two skydivers die in Acampo parachute accident after lines get tangled
News-Sentinel Staff Writer
A man and woman, both nationally recognized skydivers, died Sunday afternoon when their chutes became tangled and they plunged into an Acampo vineyard.
Barbara Cuddy, 48, of Carson City, and Robby Bigley, 32, of the Bay Area, died around 1 p.m. east of the Lodi Parachute Center at the Lodi Airport.
Bill Dause, owner of the center, said the two were part of an eight-member team practicing a formation for an upcoming U.S. Parachuting Association's championship.
As the team descended, three skydivers got their lines crossed.
One of the jumpers was able to get free, but Dause didn't have specifics on how.
"It's fate or luck or whatever you want to call it," he said.
Dause said the two others spiraled 5,000 feet before impact. One diver died at the scene; the other was transported to Lodi Memorial Hospital and was declared dead shortly after.
Dause said the two were practicing with their team, Redline, and that they were "highly skilled and highly trained" skydivers. He said they had been coming to the center regularly for the past three or four months in preparation for the competition. He said he had known them both for several years.
He said the members of Redline have been together for multiple years before adopting their name.
In 2008, Bigley was awarded third place in the four-way advanced vertical formation category at the national championships. He also took second place in the two-way sequential canopy formation category.
My high school class is not new to the idea of losing one of our own. We have been thorough more than our fair share of memorial services for classmates. Robby was an amazing human, and one of those people that no one could say anything bad about. Just hearing his name immediately brings to mind that smiling face. He was always smiling. Robby had just gotten married a few weeks ago and last night I looked through his wedding photos on Facebook and my heart broke for his new wife. Their happily ever after cut so short. In times like these I often find it difficult to find the right words. Our classmate Michael Hoeft said it beautifully....
"RIP Robby. I haven't always been a praying man, but I am praying for you and your family today and will be daily for a long while. I was really touched by you as were many---and many of us have not spent time with you for 10, 12, or even 14 years---which goes to show how much you left an INDELIBLE impact in people's lives. You were one of the good ones; people looked up to you, admired you, respected you, cared for you. I remember that you always brought such levity into any room you were in; any class I had with you was always one of the most lively and fun classes in part because of the exuberant energy you radiated DAILY. That was not an act; that was who you were and I THANK YOU FOR THAT; RIP and may your family's pain not be unbearable. Extra special prayers go out to your parents and young wife.
If there is a Heaven, I know you're up there, bro..."I believe he is in heaven enjoying the view.
You are loved and will be missed Robby. Rest In Peace and give Kyle, Shane and Jesus my love.