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Belleville man killed in skydiving incident

Published On: Jul 10 2013 01:15:58 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 11 2013 07:40:54 AM CDT
Skydiving incident on Lake Butte des Morts

Skydiving incident on Lake Butte des Morts


The man killed in a skydiving incident in the Fox Valley is from Belleville, according to a company providing a landing zone for the instructor and his student.

Winnebago County authorities say the body of Paul Olsen, 55, was found in Lake Butte des Morts. A dive team began searching for Olsen after wind pushed him off course and into the lake on Tuesday. Olsen was making a tandem 10,000-foot jump with a student.

Officials said Olsen's skydiving student swam to shore for help about 12:30 p.m. and was not injured.

Deputies said Olsen's body was found shortly before 5:30 p.m.

“It’s a dangerous sport and you accept that responsibility when you do it, but not that I recall one that’s ever gone into the water,” said Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz.

Olsen worked for the past decade at Skydive Adventure in Winnebago County and posted some of his more than 5,000 jumps on YouTube and his website, which advertises his experience that includes being a pilot and free fall instructor.

“He’s a scuba diver and a good swimmer, but the Sheriff’s Department says they found him halfway between where the parachute was and where the passenger made the shore,” said Bill Hasenfus, owner of Skydive Adventure.

Betty Legler, a Belleville resident, doesn’t skydive. She’d rather buy flowers from Olsen and his wife, who own a greenhouse just outside of Belleville in Green County.

“They appreciated that greenhouse, that was his life and skydiving,” said Legler.

An autopsy was done on Olsen Wednesday and might provide more answers to people’s questions, and the Federal Aviation Administration is helping with the investigation.

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