Federal investigators want to know why a skydiver crashed into a building. The crash happened Saturday night around Miller near Ozarks Skydive Center. Police said the skydiver had to be airlifted to the hospital.
For people who skydive, such as a 91-year-old great-grandmother from Missouri or a Nixa teacher wanting to kick off the school year, the thrill outweighs the danger.
Curtis Whittington has jumped out of a plane twice. The first time, he jumped with 417 Skydive, who documented the life-changing moment on tape.
"It's heart stopping. It takes your breath away," Whittington said with a smile. "It changes your whole life and just once you've reached that sensation and you've seen the world from that perspective it just enlightens you."
The sport can also be deadly. In 2008, one Lawrence County company had three fatal skydiving incidents. Larry Miller, an experience diver from Webb City, died after having trouble with his parachute. That same year, two other people died when a plane lost control. At the time, the Federal Aviation Administration investigated the company, Freefall Express.
This year, the website for Freefall Express shows a different company: Ozarks Skydive Center.
Witnesses said Saturday, near the property of Ozarks Skydive Center, a skydiver hit the awning of the Hanger Kafe and slid into the surrounding picnic tables. After the crash, a helicopter took the skydiver to the hospital.
The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.
Elizabeth Cory, spokeswoman with the FAA said investigators will look at how the parachute was packed, how the reserve chute was packed, and if flight rules were followed. Cory said the investigation will likely last several weeks.
Deputies with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office would not confirm the condition of the skydiver.
Whittington said on his last jump, he used Ozarks Skydive Center.
"The main focus is safety and I didn't feel concerned about my safety in any way. I knew who I was jumping with was very professional," said Whittington.
He said he's not worries about the risks of skydiving; instead, he focuses on the reward.
"I think everybody should jump at least once," said Whittington firmly. "It changes your perspective on life."