Parachutist dies in fall in Land O'Lakes - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Parachutist dies in fall in Land O'Lakes

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A parachutist died Saturday after he fell out of a plane during an airshow at Topp of Tampa Airport, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

The plane took off at a little before 2 p.m., and was over the Grand Oaks neighborhood in Land O' Lakes and began to bank.

"Somehow he fell off and we saw him drop," said Toby Fallis, who was at the airshow and watched the events unfold. "It's just crazy, shocking, surreal. Surreal is what it was."

Investigators aren't sure whether the victim, identified as Mark Curto, 62, of Tampa, began his jump or fell out.

Hundreds of onlookers at the airshow and in neighborhoods surrounding the airport saw the accident happened.

"We were admiring it and my son just said, 'mom look,' and I looked up and we just saw a man just falling out of the plane," said Atricia Smith, who lives in Grand Oaks. "Instantly I thought about him just being out maybe on some adventure and how shocking this is going to be to his family. One minute it was a happy moment to...what went wrong?"

Melanie Snow, a sheriff's office spokesperson, said this appears to be an accident.

"We are calling it a fall from the plane because his parachute never even opened," she said. "But he did have a parachute on him and we believe the intent was to parachute from the plane."

She said it appears unlikely that a medical condition, such as a heart attack, caused the victim to fall.

He landed in a homeowner's backyard on McBrine Court. Neighbors ran over to try to help, but it was too late.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have taken over the investigation.

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