Skydiver dies during jump Saturday in Ray Township

Ken Bernek collides with tree, witness during trick maneuver

By Will Jones - Reporter

RAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Ken Bernek's family says he felt most at home in the sky.

An experience sky diver, the 34-year-old logged more than a thousand jumps over the years.

He died Saturday while practicing a trick move.  He collided with a tree and also a woman who was on the ground.

Bernek's mother, Nancy, said her son constantly talked about "the view from above."

"He tried to get me to come, but the fear factor with me, I could never jump out of a plane," she said.

Bernek had worked part-time as an instructor at Midwest Freefall Sport Parachute Club for the past ten years.

He was doing a high-speed maneuver when he started to fall out of control.

His parachute was deployed at the time.

Randy Allison runs the skydiving company.

"This type of a loss with a guy like Ken, a really close friend and a very positive person everyone liked, is very devastating to our community here," he said.

For his mother, this is the second child she will have to bury.

She lost her other son to diabetes a couple of years ago.

Meanwhile Ken's sister is remembering the few times she spent in the sky with her big brother.

"It's an amazing experience. I completely understood why he got hooked. I always wanted to go again," said Kelly Rushford.

The 53-year-old woman he hit on the ground was taken to a hospital with non-life treating injuries.

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