|Eike Hohennadl is in the center|
Nobody knows for sure what happened, but when his parachute opened in a spin, he was unresponsive under canopy, slumped in the harness, and never did anything to stop it. It continued until he hit the ground, killing him. That is, if he was not already dead, or at least unconscious, from who knows what. Maybe a heart attack, maybe not.
I jumped with him for years, whenever I attended one of those events where we would both be included because of our advanced years. I was never in the same category as far as skydiving skill went. He was a local skydiver in the Lake Elsinore area, and he traveled often to events and was always sought after. It is a great loss to the jump community.
Plus he was just an all-around good guy. It happened yesterday, and every time I woke in the night, I would think of him and feel very sad that he is gone. There are many things I didn't know about him until I read about him in a local Lake Elsinore article, written by Sarah Burge.
Hohenadl had thousands of jumps under his belt and held numerous U.S. Parachute Association licenses and ratings, including safety and training adviser. Hohenadl had escaped from East Germany as a boy and eventually made his way to the United States. He had described that experience as “way more nerve-wracking than jumping from a plane.” Hohenadl fought in the Vietnam War, stationed aboard a 173-foot minesweeper that patrolled the Mekong Delta and the Gulf of Tonkin. In the 90s, he served as manager of a major disposal project at the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Facility involving Vietnam-era napalm. He retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of captain after more than 30 years of service.I was going to write about something else, but I just need to say goodbye to him, and wish him Godspeed. I also hope that his family and friends will find solace in the outpouring of love and respect that people all over the world are expressing for Eike. He will truly be missed.