Europe

Dutch skydiver Mark van den Boogaard lay dead for days

  • 19 December 2012
  • From the section Europe

Dutch police say they do not believe any crime was committed in the case of a skydiver who died and lay undetected in a field for more than a week.

Mark van den Boogaard was not reported missing and his body was discovered by chance. His parachute failed to open on his dive on 8 December.

No technical problems were found with the parachute and the investigation was over, a police statement said.

The jump was organised with the largest skydiving club in the Netherlands.

But the club said it had not launched a search as skydivers do not usually report back after their jump.

'Shocked'

Police information officer Anton De Ronde said a local team had visited Mr Boogaard's family to inform them, but that he was not close to any of his relatives - which is, the police believe, why no-one reported him missing.

Simon Woerlee, manager of the Nationaal Paracentrum skydiving club, in the village of Teuge near Deventer in Gelderland province, described his members as "shocked".

He told the BBC's Anna Holligan that Mr Boogaard was "a friendly and happy man, but a loner, someone who did not really talk to anyone and was always on his own".

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He was self-employed, so no-one from work called to see why he was absent.

Mr Boogaard was a regular and relatively experienced skydiver, according to club records, completing approximately 120 jumps since joining up in summer 2011.

The Royal Netherlands Aeronautical Association and the police launched an examination of the equipment to try to work out why neither the main chute nor the reserve chute opened.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Dutch police said that the investigation was complete and that no crime had been committed and no defects found in the parachute.

'We never check'

Mr Woerlee of the parachute club said there was no system to make sure that a jump had been completed safely.

"We never check, there is no law, no regulations," he said.

"They have tried it in America but it didn't work. Sometimes people come back to the club for a cup of tea and a chat, but sometimes they just pack up and leave.

"If you are forced to find out where everyone is, there can be a big drama for nothing. You can call all the emergency rescue teams and helicopters, then discover the person is sitting at home having tea with his granddad - that has happened before."

However, a means of checking in with skydivers after their jump is "well worth investigating" Meiltje de Groot, director of Teuge airfield, told the local De Stentor newspaper.

"It's very sad that someone could lie dead somewhere for so long without anyone missing him", Mrs de Groot said.