- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By BOB WHITE
ELIZABETHTOWN — What caused an experienced sky diver to die after a jump Saturday in Elizabethtown remains unknown, but equipment malfunction and carelessness have been ruled out.
Jim Moore, jump instructor and owner of Skydive Kentucky, said the gear Paul Robards, 47, used in his final jump checked out. Federal Aviation Administration officials inspected Robards’ gear Monday at Addington Field.
It appears Robards went through landing procedures with the equipment as though no problems existed, Moore said.
“The cause of the incident is believed to be medical rather than sky-diving related,” Moore said. “(Robards) lost the ability to control his canopy shortly before landing.”
For whatever reason, Robards was unable to slow his discent before striking the ground at the Elizabethtown airport. The fast and hard landing resulted in severe head trauma.
After being airlifted to University Hospital in Louisville, he was pronounced dead from the injuries. A ruling on the cause of death is pending, the Jefferson County Coroner’s office said.
Robards, a Shepherdsville resident, had more than 7,500 jumps to his credit and had performed aerially for large crowds with several jump teams, including an Aerial Allstars sky-diving demonstration that’s been part of Thunder Over Louisville for years.
“He loved to live,” sky diver Mike Dean said of Robards.
Robards’ funeral is at 7 p.m. Thursday at Schoppenhorst, Underwood and Brooks Funeral Home in Shepherdsville, off Interstate 65 at the Brooks Road exit. Visitation begins at 3 p.m. Thursday.
Operations at Skydive Kentucky resumed Sunday. This was the first fatality at the center, which opened in Elizabethtown last year. Moore previously worked for Greene County Sport Parachute Center in Bardstown.
Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.