University of Arizona medical student dies in paragliding accident

2013-04-09T11:00:00Z 2013-04-09T16:01:29Z University of Arizona medical student dies in paragliding accidentStephanie Innes ARIZONA DAILY STAR Arizona Daily Star
April 09, 2013 11:00 am  • 

Students and professors at the University of Arizona College of Medicine are mourning the loss of a third year medical student.

Zach Orman, 28, died after a paragliding accident in the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area near Sonoita on Sunday.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Department says Orman was landing his paraglider when he got caught in a dust devil that violently threw him to the ground. He suffered severe head injuries and was airlifted to the University of Arizona Medical Center but succumbed to his injuries later that day.

A memo from college dean Dr. Steve Goldschmid and deputy dean of education Dr. Kevin Moynihan says Orman was one of the college's, "finest students."

"Those of you who knew Zach no doubt remember him as an exceptionally smart, humble and empathetic person," the memo says.

Orman was from California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2007 with a degree in neuroscience and behavior, his Facebook page says.

Orman's Facebook page includes pictures of paragliding as well as photos of his longtime girlfriend, Becca Dennis, and his dog, Sedona.

"Soaring at Box Canyon yesterday evening. Fantastic flight, about an hour long, got up over 6,000 ft. Yes, I am hooked. :)," he recently wrote as a caption to one of them.

Update: A service for Zach Orman will be held in Tucson on Wednesday, April 10 at Temple Emanu-El in midtown Tucson. Another service is scheduled for May 5, Orman's hometown of Murphys, California.

Orman's parents, Dr. Rodger Orman and Holly Orman are University of Arizona graduates. In a message they wrote this morning on The Pinetree.Net, a news service for Calaveras County in California, they said their son was on his way to becoming an emergency room doctor and that he had just won an award for humanism.

"Holly and I had just spent two wonderful weeks visiting him and his girlfriend, Becca Dennis. We had returned to Murphys the day before the tragedy," his father wrote.

"We are staying at Zach's house now. My parents Bernie and Betty and Holly's parents Marvin and Dinah are devastated as we all are."

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About this blog

Arizona Daily Star health reporter Stephanie Innes brings you the latest health information. Contact her at sinnes@tucson.com

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