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Skydiver Commits Suicide by Shedding Parachute at 8,000 Feet Over NY Field


Police say a veteran skydiver left a suicide note before intentionally casting off his parachute and falling to his death in a New York farm field.

Saratoga County Sheriff's Investigator Rick Capasso says 60-year-old cabinet maker Robert "Señor" Raecke, unbuckled the chute after jumping from a plane at about 8,000 feet on Sunday. His body was found in a field in the Saratoga County town of Northumberland, 35 miles north of Albany.

Capasso said Monday that the note Raecke left behind and the subsequent investigation haven't explained why he killed himself.

The Albany Times Union reports that Raecke had 9,000 jumps to his credit before he took his own life, and was unmarried with no children.

"Raecke lived in Duanesburg and worked for MMC Millwork Corp. in Albany. He was single and had no children. Company owner Sam Greco said Raecke worked for him for 14 years and he was an excellent employee. He showed no sign he was depressed or suicidal, Greco said."

An autopsy found he died of blunt-force trauma.

The Times Union highlighted this photo of Raecke carrying an 1,800-square-foot American flag with him during a jump at the Schenectady Airshow in September 2001:

The Times Union adds that Raecke taught sky diving, and in 2006, he helped a local Associated Press reporter make his first accelerated free-fall jump.

According to The Daily Mail:

From almost three million jumps last year, 21 people died skydiving in the U.S. - an average of one every 141,509 jumps.

Most of the deaths are thought to be due to human error, rather than problems with equipment.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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