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.

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