If you’re looking for a euphoric rush of pure adrenaline, there’s very little that can top skydiving. Standing at the edge of a flying plane, thousands of feet in the air, with cars, buildings and animals being just tiny details below, jumping out and subjecting yourself to terrifying terminal velocity.
It’s among the scariest things you can voluntarily do, but thanks to the parachute that can be released once airborne, you’ll live to fight another day, instead of succumbing to the raw power of the gravitational phenomenon. Personally, I’ve never tried skydiving, and part of the reason for that is that I’m terrified that for one reason or another, the parachute would fail, and I would be left to experience a rather painful death.
I couldn’t imagine not pulling the cord at all, but out in DeLand, Florida, one man did exactly that when 13,500 feet in the air. A 27-year-old Italian national sent a video message to his wife, telling her he was not going to open his parachute, and was found dead shortly afterward in a heartbreaking tale of suicide.
Last Tuesday at around 10am local time, Capotorto Vitantonio jumped from a plane above the city of DeLand in Florida. Moments earlier, he had sent a video message to his wife, 25-year-old Costansa Zitellini, telling her he had no intention of pulling the cord, and plummeted to his death before anybody could contact the plane crew in order to stop him from taking his own life.
Vitantonio and Zitellini both worked at United Parachute Technologies, a company that makes containers for parachutes, and Vitantonio had reportedly made around 600 jumps before his tragic death.
Vitantonio, an Italian national, “seemed normal”, according to Tara Richards at Skydive DeLand, one of the most popular skydiving spots in the state. Shortly before his fated jump, Zitellini received a message from her husband telling her he wasn’t going to open his chute, and a police report on the incident says that Vitantonio told his wife “he was going somewhere wonderful”.
He was found face down in a field southeast of the runways at DeLand Municipal Airport at 10:25 local time, and law enforcement informed Zitellini of her husband’s tragic passing. Mike Johnston, the general manager at Skydive DeLand, said that Zitellini arrived “moments too late” to stop her husband from boarding the plane.
“We give our [customers] a safe ride to altitude and we transport them using aircraft that has been considered the best maintained in the industry. When a person steps out the door, they are responsible for themselves.”
At this moment in time, Zitellini has declined to comment on her husband’s death, and our thoughts are with her at this very tragic time. It is important to remember that suicide is never the answer; if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please don’t hesitate to call the Samaritans
group at 116 123, or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline