LUMBERTON, MS (WDAM) - Jimmie Horak of Pensacola, FL was killed in a skydiving accident Saturday in Lumberton, Mississippi that left another man injured.
Friends of Horak, who began skydiving in the 1970s, remember him as "fun loving".
"He was very well known, very well liked, and he will be very well missed," says friend Ben Crowell. "It's a hard loss losing Jimmie."
Horak was a doctor at the VA hospital in Pensacola but flew his plane to Lumberton Saturday to help with a busy flow of visitors at Gold Coast Skydivers. Crowell says Horak was a very "safety conscious" man, serving as a tandem instructor and examiner as well as an accelerated free fall instructor for the United States Parachute Association.
"I've been jumping with Jimmie for twelve or fifteen years," says Crowell. "We were the first... to do tandems over Mount McKinley in Alaska in 2009."
Horak was well-known among the skydiving community, holding the record for the state of Alabama for jumping 28,000 feet at Emerald Coast Skydiving Center.
"After the incident, probably within an hour, it was known Coast to Coast," says Crowell of his friend's sudden death. "That's how tight the sky diving community is."
When asked why he and others skydive with the risk of accidents like Horak's, Crowell says he skydives because "we really enjoy doing it."
"It's a part of living. Most people go through life and never experience what life really is. When you jump out of an airplane, it's a rush. It's an adrenaline rush."
The accident is being investigated by a branch of the Federal Aviation Administration, which handles skydiving accidents. Gold Coast Skydivers is currently open and operating regular business hours.