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Skydiving victim was in Nebraska for a wedding; FAA investigation won’t determine what happened after jump

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Will Seale had a book to finish, a fiancé to marry and a farm to buy.

But first, the 34-year-old had to travel to Nebraska from his home in Florida, to serve as a groomsman in a friend’s wedding last week.

William Seale

William Seale, who loved skiing and snowboarding, died Sept. 15 in a skydiving accident at the Crete Airport.

On the afternoon of Sept. 15, the men of the wedding party visited Skydive Atlas for a pre-ceremony group activity, said Crete Police Chief Steve Hensel.

Seale was an adventurer. He filled his Facebook page with photos of his travels and encounters — petting a lion, riding an elephant, snowboarding Mount Hood, posing with Mike Tyson.

And he had skydived before, a friend said. Solo.

But that afternoon at Skydive Atlas, Seale strapped in with 56-year-old Romulo Suarez, a skydiving instructor and tandem master who had logged more than 1,800 jumps.

The jump seemed to go fine, at first. Witnesses said their parachute fully deployed after the pair leapt from the plane. But the two didn’t sufficiently slow their descent as they neared the ground, Crete Police said in a news release.

The impact killed Seale. Suarez, a former special forces member of the Venezuelan Air Force who now lives in Crete, suffered multiple injuries, including brain swelling and a fractured right leg, ribs and face.

He remained unconscious and on a ventilator at Bryan West Campus, his son wrote on a GoFundMe page this week.

Skydive Atlas owner Sean Tillery declined to answer questions about the accident, pointing instead to a statement he released the day after it happened:

Safety is the company’s priority, and each skydiver and instructor receives thorough training, it said. And since Skydive Atlas opened in 2005, his company has made more than 20,000 safe jumps.

He wasn’t going to speculate about what happened during what he called the final descent of a typical skydive, he said in the statement, noting the incident is under investigation.

And the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating — though not to determine what went wrong in the air.

Instead, it will focus on determining whether its skydiving rules and regulations -- which govern the packing of the parachutes, the flight rules for pilot and plane, the qualifications of the tandem instructor — were met before the jump.

Romulo Suarez

Romulo Suarez, who was injured in the skydiving accident, has logged more than 1,800 jumps.

But it’s not going to try to find out what happened after the jump, a spokeswoman said in an email.

The Crete Police Department isn’t investigating beyond collecting information from the scene and providing it to the FAA, Hensel said.

Seale will be buried Saturday in Pensacola, Florida, where he’d been planning to buy a farm with his fiancé, according to his obituary.

He was settling down now, it said, after spending much of his adult life traveling the world. He’d visited Thailand, Japan, Egypt, Holland and Italy.

He’d grown up in northern Virginia and graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with an English degree, though he found a career helping develop robotic automated processes.

Still, he enjoyed creative writing and was working on a book, which family and friends will finish, his obituary said. He’d written website content for a cybersecurity nonprofit.

He spoke fluent Italian. He liked boxing, skiing and his friends.

“They joked he never had to make plans, he would just call and say he wanted to spend the day with them, just being present and having fun,” it said.

And his friends liked him back. Barry Cohen considered him a brother; the two had grown up together, and had remained close.

“He is the best man I have ever known.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7254 or psalter@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter

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