Skydiving Instructor Lost During Tandem Jump

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Authorities have found the body of a skydiving instructor who went missing during a tandem jump on Thursday near Skydive New England in Lebanon, Maine. As is standard for a tandem jump, only the instructor, who has been identified as Brett Bickford, 41, of Rochester, New Hampshire, was equipped with a parachute and the unidentified student was harnessed to him. A Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman reported that investigators believe instructor and student became separated approximately a mile above the ground. The student landed safely without Bickford, leading to unconfirmed speculation that Bickford somehow slipped out of his harness, leaving harness and chute attached to the student.

The jump took place at approximately 2 p.m. local time on Thursday. The student contacted police immediately after landing. Search and rescue teams were deployed until 9 p.m. on Thursday and the search was resumed on Friday morning. According to a spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, Bickford’s body was found in a wooded area 750 feet southwest of the Skydive Lebanon Airport (ME64) runway at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday. An investigation is underway.

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