Friend of victim in parachuting accident speaks out

White Cite, Ore.- NBC5 News took a closer look at the local man who lost his life yesterday in a skydiving accident along Antioch Road in White City.

Investigators and the victim’s family say the victim died doing something that he loved.

Jackson County Sheriff’s are calling it, “A horrible accident,” when just after noon on Sunday tragedy struck in White City as 74 year old Jackson Kern plummeted to the ground.

Initially, Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputies thought it was a paraglider, but they soon found out it was actually a parachuter.

They then found 74 year old Jackson Jerome Kern.

“Deputies learned that Mr.Kern had a history with skydiving,” Sgt. Julie Denney of the Jackson County Sheriff’s tells NBC5 News.

That history was a passion according to one Kern’s fellow divers, George Holberton.

“He just was devoted to skydiving. He never missed a weekend,” Holberton says.

George Holberton used to dive with Kern and The Beagle Parachute Club. Together the two did big things in the world of skydiving.

Holberton recalls,”We did one jump. It was a state record. It was three of us over 70.”

Even after years of experience and breaking records though, Jackson County Sheriff’s say Kern fell victim to an equipment failure.

“It looks like there was a problem with the toggle which is what controls the descent,” Denney says.

Kern crash landed on residential land along Antioch Road in White City. While it isn’t unusual to see skydivers in the area, a¬†tragedy like this one is never something locals tell NBC5 News they never expected.

And with friends and family of Jackson Jerome Kern, including George Holberton, grieving his loss, they have nothing but good to say about the man who loved to dive.

“He was just an all around really nice guy who always did stuff for other people,” Holberton says.


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