LODI, Calif. — A couple of chilly parachutists claimed a world record for jumping out of an airplane Friday, completing 255 jumps in a 24-hour period as a group of supporters cheered them on.
World-class parachutist Cheryl Sterns, 32, of Fayetteville, N.C., and Russell Fish, a financial officer from Madera, Calif., ended the effort at 4:30 p.m., spiraling to the Tarmac from a Cessna flying at just under 2,000 feet.
Grinning broadly, the couple stood briefly before television news cameras then headed for showers and well-earned rests.
They bested a 24-hour mark of 250 consecutive jumps set by Dave Huber in Issaquah, Wash., on July 3 and 4, 1985, said Bill Dause, manager of the Parachute Center, site of the duo's record-breaking effort five miles west of Lodi.
In addition, Sterns shattered the women's record of 74 consecutive jumps, set during a seven-hour stint by Ce Ce Classon at the Issaquah jumping center during Huber's effort.
Sterns and Fish used four Cessnas during the 24-hour period, keeping two of them in operation at a time. Starting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, they zipped to 2,000 feet in an airplane, jumped and spiraled quickly to earth where they shed harnesses, grabbed new parachutes and ran to the second waiting aircraft.
The record-setting effort went on through a clear, chilly night in the Central Valley, where temperatures plunged into the 30s.
"They ate while putting parachutes on, drinking cups of coffee, Cokes and turkey sandwiches," Dause said.
Fish, an employee of Post Technologies, organized the record attempt as a fund-raising effort for the Boy Scouts and other nonprofit organizations. He called on Sterns to participate because of her standing in the world of parachute experts, Dause said.
A pilot for Piedmont Airlines, Sterns has been sky diving for 15 years and has made more than 6,000 jumps. She won the accuracy division at the world championships in 1986.