Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 4:15 pm | Fair 76º


Local News

Events Planned to Remember Local Skydiver Robin Ballachey Killed in Mexico

The 33-year-old former Skydive Santa Barbara employee died in a plane crash last week

A fundraiser and memorial are being planned for Robin Ballachey, a former employee at Skydive Santa Barbara at the Lompoc Airport who was reported killed last week in a plane crash in Mexico.
A fundraiser and memorial are being planned for Robin Ballachey, a former employee at Skydive Santa Barbara at the Lompoc Airport who was reported killed last week in a plane crash in Mexico. (Contributed photo)

A fundraiser and memorial are being planned for a former employee at Skydive Santa Barbara at the Lompoc Airport after she died in a plane crash last week in Mexico.

Robin Ballachey, 33, was one of two women reportedly killed when a Cessna 180 plane crashed off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Ballachey, who is from South Lake Tahoe, lived in Pismo Beach and had previously worked for Skydive Santa Barbara for a couple of years starting in November 2012 and staying until late last year.

Her local friends are organizing a celebration of life fundraiser from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday at The Village Office Bar, 3734 Constellation Road.

Ballachey had worked there as a bartender.

Tickets will cost $10 and must be purchased in advance at The Village Office Bar. A limited number of tickets is available due to the capacity of the venue.

A raffle and silent auction are planned, and the Dylan Ortega Band will perform.

On Sunday, Ballachey’s former colleagues will remember her with a memorial after a day of jumping at Skydive Santa Barbara in Lompoc. 

Vallarta Daily reported a Cessna 180 crashed into the Bay of Banderas off Las Glorias beach in the afternoon on Thursday.

Three of the five people on board were rescued and two are missing and believed to be dead, including Ballachey and her tandem student. The tandem student's family identified her as Varsha Maisuria, 42, from Great Britain. 

A witness claimed Ballachey’s leg strap snagged on a step as they exited the plane and they were hanging from the strut before the parachute canopy deployed causing the aircraft ultimately to crash.

The plane reportedly was operated by Skydive Vallarta, where Ballachey had planned to work for the summer as a tandem instructor.

News of the tragedy in Mexico quickly spread to the skydiving community in California. 

Skydive Santa Barbara owner David Hughes said the day before the crash he had received a photo that included Ballachey and some of his other former employees in Puerto Vallarta. The photo shows them smiling broadly while wearing skydiving gear.

Ballachey lived an adventurous life as she also was an avid skier and snowboarder.

“She was an amazing woman … ,” Hughes said. “She was an awesome skydiver.”

To remember their friend, Lompoc residents designed a logo to make into stickers and patches with the words, “Fly Free Robin,” and an image of robin bird.

 “Robin was the sweetest person you ever met in your life," said Elizabeth Cusick Martinez, who met Ballachey at the The Village Office and also cut her hair. “She just shined so bright."

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >