Orbital Outfitters Skydiving Expert Dies in Accident

A man who helped lead an effort to establish orbital skydiving as a new extreme sport was killed last week in a diving accident in Switzerland.

Eli Thompson headed up the Space Diver Dive team for Orbital Outfitters, a California-based start up company that is designing suits for high-altitude diving and suborbital space flights. Thompson was killed in a skydiving accident in Lautterbrunnen, Switzerland on August 28.

According to the World Wide Wingsuit News website:

Eli Thompson sadly is no longer among us,  suffered fatal injuries due to an accident that occurred while working on a special wingsuit BASE shoot for a new 3D movie with the RedBull AirForce.

Eli Thompson is concidered one of the grandfathers of freefly, who helped push the sport and dicipline to the great heights it has reached today.

He was also a host and stuntman for many movies and TV shows and subject of several documantary videos/DVDs.

In a Facebook status update, Orbital Outfitters founder and CEO Rick Tumlinson wrote:

Sophia and I are totally devastated. Our good friend, and the head of the Space Diver Dive team, Eli Thompson….was lost to this world today. Eli had been with us for 2 years as we tried to make this thing happen. He was a class act, a great person …and a new dad for the second time. I will post more…And send out w ay to help his oh so young family…as soon as I get over this…as I just found out. I can’t believe

A memorial page has been set up that reads in part:

Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Eli Thompson, beloved by all. A son, husband, father, brother, mentor and friend, Eli leaves behind a legacy that has forever changed skydiving and extreme sports. He leaves behind his wife Sarah who is 9 months pregnant with their son, as well as his two daughters Destiny (8 yrs) and Tahani (20months). This loss is especially hard for his family.

Details on a memorial service are pending.