PALATKA, Fla. -- To friends, 29-year-old Kurt Ruppert seemed born to be airborne.
His good friend Art Shaffer, owner of Skydive Palatka, said "Kurt's one of the better wingsuiters probably in the world. I mean some of the stuff he did was just amazing."
So Ruppert's friends weren't surprised when after their midnight jump on New Year's Eve, Kurt announced he was heading up to Washington this week to dive out of a helicopter.
The Lake City skydiver jumped Thursday afternoon near Mount Si, in the Cascade foothills, about 30 miles east of Seattle.
But he never made it to the landing zone.
Teams of searchers have been scouring the mountain on foot looking for him ever since.
"When he jumped, likely he flew at least some distance before he deployed his parachute, if he even got the parachute deployed. So we really have quite a few mile radius that we're looking for here," said King County Sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West.
That's because in a wingsuit, like he's wearing in this video taken just a few months ago, skydivers can reach 60-70 mph, carrying them potentially miles away.
Ruppert and two other skydivers were taking turns jumping from a chartered helicopter. The other skydivers were waiting in the landing zone, but didn't see the jump. The pilot said Ruppert jumped from an altitude of 6,500 feet.
Dozens of searchers spent Friday scouring the mountain. But with weather working against them, between below freezing temperatures, heavy rain and some snow on Mount Si -- time is ticking.
But his friends here hold out hope this will one day just be another one of Ruppert's really cool stories.
"He was a part of all of us, I'm hoping he's still here," said Shaffer.