Murder charge for parachute sabotage

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Senior Master Sergeant
Dec 19, 2006
Hell hath no wrath like.....

Woman held over sky diver's death

By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 2:39am GMT 24/01/2007

Police are holding a Belgian woman over the death of a sky diver who plunged 13,000 feet to her death after someone apparently tampered with her parachute.

In the high altitude love triangle murder mystery, Els Clootemans, 22, is suspected of murdering her parachutist partner Els Van Doran, 37, last November after finding her rival was having an affair with her boyfriend.

Shared by both women, the lover, named only by the Belgian authorities as a Dutchman "Marcel", watched in horror as Mrs Van Doran, a married mother with two children, crashed over two miles to her death into a garden in the Limburg town of Opglabbeek.

The three, joined by another unnamed experienced parachutist, took off from the small aerodrome of Zwartberg on a regular Sunday skydiving trip last November, say sources close to the investigation.

Unlike other jumps, when the four would hold a star formation before splitting up to open their chutes at 4,000 feet, Miss Clootemans hung back when leaving the aircraft.

She then watched from above as her friend Mrs Van Doren, an experienced skydiver with 2,000 jumps under her belt, struggled to open both her main and reserve parachutes.

Mrs Van Doren's terrifying fall to her death was captured on her head-mounted video camera and footage of the jump, showing her frantic efforts to open her parachutes, provided key evidence for police.

Signs that both parachutes had been sabotaged by an expert pointed detectives in the direction of the victim's fellow skydivers.

Miss Clootemans quickly became the main suspect and police became increasingly suspicious when she attempted to commit suicide just hours before being questioned for a second time on December 22. She has denied the allegations.

The secretary, said to suffer from a personality disorder and receiving psychiatric treatment, denies her guilt but was arrested and jailed last Friday. She will appear for a hearing before a court in the city of Tongres later this month.

Police have revealed that Miss Clootemans had previously been arrested for attempting to run over an American boyfriend in a jealous row. He escaped injury and she was released without charge.
And for those who don't know, parachutes are type designed and those who pack them are certified (like A&P mechanics, pilots). Serious stuff this is.
that would be a terrible way to die though.

I only have 7 jumps myself but i can almost imagine. She probably struggled with her reserve until moments before impact.

Good argument for rigging your own gear!

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