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UPDATE: Surrey firefighter dies in parachute accident

Cal McKibbon, 51, was an active individual who loved life

A Surrey fire captain has died in a parachuting accident in Washington State .

Cal McKibbon, 51, was parachuting near Snohomish Thursday, and witnesses say he had trouble with the main chute and that the backup chute became tangled.

He plunged about 1,200 meters (about 4,000 feet) into the Pilchuk River.

He was rescued from the water by firefighters and transported to a nearby gravel pit, where he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

He remained there in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries that afternoon.

McKibbon was a student at Skydive Snohomish and was on his second jump of the day. He had undertaken 14 jumps, more than half way to his 23-jump certification.

Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis, who was a friend of McKibbon, was on his way down to Washington Friday.

Deputy Chief John Caviglia said the community is grieving the loss.

“It’s a huge shock to his family and his extended family of firefighters,” Caviglia said.

He was a person who loved life, and was an active individual, Caviglia said, adding it’s too soon to get into too many details about him.

“There will be a time to recognize him for the person he was at a later time, but right now we need to deal with the grieving process.”

McKibbon was a 26-year veteran of the Surrey Fire Department.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is investigating exactly what went wrong with McKibbon’s chute deployment.

@diakiw

 

 

 

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