A Tecumseh man, who had a parachute pack on his back, climbed up a 393-foot communications tower — about seven miles east of Matfield Green — on Saturday and jumped off, but his parachute failed to deploy before he hit the ground, east of the tower.
Frank Hubbell, 50, died at the scene from the trauma of the impact with the ground, said Chase County Sheriff Richard Dorneker.
Bill Hubbell, Frank’s brother, said he was supposed to check in with him, but he did not check in.
“I called his cell phone, and it went straight to voice mail,” he said.
After a period of time, Hubbell said he called the Chase County Sheriff’s Department to have officers search for his brother.
“He was participating in a risky activity, and he understood the risks,” he said.
Frank Hubbell attempted to BASE (Building, Antennae, Span, Earth) jump from the tower before he died.
Frank did about 150 BASE jumps before Dec. 29, Bill Hubbell said.
“As far as what led him to it, it was the thrill,” Hubbell said. “Why do people do extreme skiing or climb Mount Everest? It’s the thrill and excitement that they are looking for.”
He said the thing that he remembered the most about Frank is just the way he touched people.
“He’s the kind of person who would go out of his way to do anything for anybody,” Hubbell said. “He was a devoted father and husband.”
Jen Sharp, who was a close friend of Frank for about 10 years, said there are a lot of people that are mourning for him.
Hubbell said the funeral service for Frank is 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Most Pure Heart of Mary Church in Topeka.
Heartland Tower Inc., which owns the tower, would not comment about the incident.
Dorneker said he was not aware of any other instance of someone base jumping from the tower.
“I spoke with individuals who grew up here, and this is the first for anybody to hear of a base jumper doing something in Chase County,” he said.
Dorneker said the investigation is still ongoing.