The Girlfriend and Boyfriend Who Died Together Skydiving In Missouri–Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
According to this eRumor, 25-year-old Laurie Kern and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Matt Pratruba, of Missouri decided to try skydiving. She was reluctant, but he talked her into it. When they got into the air, something went wrong with the airplane. The pilot told them to jump, which they did, and fell to their deaths because neither parachute opened. The pilot survived, but never flew again. This happened in 1996 and was reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. The moral to the story is, “Is it really worth it?”
None of the facts in this story has checked out with newspaper or public records. It seems to have been written by someone who is terrified of the thought of skydiving and wanted to have a tale that would support that fear. There is no story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1982 to the present with any of these names. There is only one skydiving death reported, a woman who collided with a tractor while attempting to land. There are no stories in that time-period with the name “Pratruba” and no record of the pilot. Additionally, there are no deaths of any cause to a Laurie Kern or Matt Pratruba during that period in Missouri. The facts about the airplane emergency, the parachutes that would not open, and the pilot vowing to never fly again are not very realistic. The writer of the story looked at skydiving through his or her own eyes and said “it’s not worth it” and very likely wanted others to feel the same. Jumping out of airplanes may not appeal to everyone, but when done properly, it is not a death sentence either.