Birthday gift turns into harrowing adventure high above SPI
By PAMELA CODY
Special to the PRESS
An adrenaline-filled birthday surprise became even more thrilling than Pete Zurita could have imagined, when his girlfriend, Danica Rae Bird, decided to surprise him with his first-ever skydiving trip. Danica, an avid skydiving enthusiast, made the arrangements, and secretly invited friends to gather on the beach for a post-dive landing party, replete with a birthday banner and cocktails. The jump was in progress when things took a scary twist.
Frank Shisler has operated Sky Dive SPI for 6 years and had just finished explaining the details of the sky diving experience. “They jump from between (10,000) and 11,000 feet. There’s about 55 seconds of freefall, then the parachute ride is about 7 to 9 minutes, then we land right on the beach.” Shisler noted no special training is required, saying, “You have to be 18 years of age and under 240 pounds.”
Both Bird and Zurita were sky diving tandem with experienced jumpers from Sky Dive SPI. Bird jumped with her partner first, with Zurita following shortly after. The crowd on the beach was watching them both descend when Zurita began rapidly spinning. Concern among the onlookers grew quickly as Shisler communicated with his team, and everyone on the beach collectively held their breath while the drama unfolded.
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