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Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
January 5, 1996
Author: Bhavna Mistry Daily News Staff Writer
A 33-year-old Carpinteria woman committed suicide while diving 3,500 feet out of an airplane, officials said Thursday. Preliminary Kern County coroner’s reports indicate that Robin Leslie Sampson intentionally let herself out of her parachute harness during a jump Saturday.
“Everything was fine, her parachute had opened automatically as it should but then she worked her way out of it,” said Bob Celeya, operations manager at the California City Skydive Center. “She disassembled her chest strap, took off her gloves and helmet and undid her leg straps and fell out of her harness. It’s a sad situation.”
According to Celeya, Sampson must have worked hard for two minutes to unstrap herself from the restraints. “It’s not an easy thing to do,” he said. Sampson had called the Skydive Center a day before her jump to schedule it and had to sit through a three- to five-hour training seminar before being able to jump.
“She seemed like a normal person,” Celeya said. “She was even bubbly.” Although this was Sampson’s first jump, the training would have prepared her adequately to complete an 8-minute sky dive, he said. Sampson was one of three students who participated in the sky dive Saturday. She was the third jumper out of the plane carrying 21 jumpers and one pilot.
After she had jumped, the plane reached an altitude of 15,000 feet, where the rest of the divers parachuted out. According to Celeya, Sampson tried to insist on wearing her jacket while she jumped, but instructors forbade her because it was too big for the harness. Later, officials discovered a carpet knife in a pocket within the jacket and found a bottle of Prozac, an antidepressant drug, in her rental car.
Record Number: 9601010432