Body of skydiving instructor, 41, is found after he became separated from his student during jump

The body of a skydiving instructor who mysteriously became separated from his student during a tandem jump has been found in Maine.

 

Officials said 41-year-old Brett Bickford of Rochester, New Hampshire, and his student participated in a jump around 2pm Thursday near Skydive New England in Lebanon.

 

The student immediately alerted Maine State Police after safely landing, concerned that he was the only one with the parachute in the landing.

 

The body of skydiving instructor, Brett Bickford (pictured with a student two weeks ago), 41, who became separated from his student during a tandem jump has been found, according to Maine authorities

The body of skydiving instructor, Brett Bickford (pictured with a student two weeks ago), 41, who became separated from his student during a tandem jump has been found, according to Maine authorities

The body of skydiving instructor, Brett Bickford (pictured with a student two weeks ago), 41, who became separated from his student during a tandem jump has been found, according to Maine authorities

 

Officials said Bickford of Rochester, New Hampshire, and his student participated in a jump around 2pm Thursday near Skydive New England (pictured) in Lebanon

Officials said Bickford of Rochester, New Hampshire, and his student participated in a jump around 2pm Thursday near Skydive New England (pictured) in Lebanon

Officials said Bickford of Rochester, New Hampshire, and his student participated in a jump around 2pm Thursday near Skydive New England (pictured) in Lebanon

 

The mystery of how the instructor came to plummet to the ground, despite the parachute originally being attached to him when they jumped, has yet to be explained

The mystery of how the instructor came to plummet to the ground, despite the parachute originally being attached to him when they jumped, has yet to be explained

The mystery of how the instructor came to plummet to the ground, despite the parachute originally being attached to him when they jumped, has yet to be explained

 

Ryan Scutt, a skydiving instructor in Vermont, said instructors and students both wear harnesses on jumps. He said the main parachute and a backup in the harness is attached to the instructor.

 

The instructor and student are usually connected by four metal buckles and it would be nearly impossible for them to become detached accidentally, Scutt told the Global Dispatch.

 

‘The idea of the instructor not being in the harness anymore or falling out is essentially unheard of,’ he said, and the pair ‘can’t become disconnected once they are connected’.

Cpl John MacDonald, the spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, said a search team found Bickford’s body shortly before 5.30pm Friday, about 750 feet from the Lebanon Airport runway.

 

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said investigators determined the instructor and student became separated about a mile above the ground.

 

McCausland says the instructor didn’t have a backup parachute.

 

In a press statement, a Skydive New England spokesperson said the freefall was ‘uneventful’ and that the only incident was that the instructor went missing.

 

A massive search was launched by Maine game wardens, state police, and forestry officials who scoured the area for more than six hours before halting it around 8.30pm Thursday. 

 

The search for Bickford resumed Friday morning with K-9 officers, drones with heat-sensing capabilities, Maine State Police and Maine Warden Service’s planes, and the Maine Forest Service’s helicopter.

 

The student immediately alerted Maine State Police after safely landing, concerned that he was the only one with the parachute in the landing. Bickford is pictured with a different student 

The student immediately alerted Maine State Police after safely landing, concerned that he was the only one with the parachute in the landing. Bickford is pictured with a different student 

The student immediately alerted Maine State Police after safely landing, concerned that he was the only one with the parachute in the landing. Bickford is pictured with a different student

 

Cpl John MacDonald, the spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, said a search team found Bickford's (pictured with another student) body shortly before 5.30pm, about 750 feet from the Lebanon Airport runway

Cpl John MacDonald, the spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, said a search team found Bickford's (pictured with another student) body shortly before 5.30pm, about 750 feet from the Lebanon Airport runway

Cpl John MacDonald, the spokesman for the Maine Warden Service, said a search team found Bickford’s (pictured with another student) body shortly before 5.30pm, about 750 feet from the Lebanon Airport runway

 

Both people use the same parachute in a tandem jump. Police aren't sure how the skydivers became separated 

Both people use the same parachute in a tandem jump. Police aren't sure how the skydivers became separated 

Both people use the same parachute in a tandem jump. Police aren’t sure how the skydivers became separated

 

According to News Center Maine, Skydive New England has experienced several incidents over the past couple of years with skydivers getting injured and one person dying in 2002.

 

A spokesperson clarified that the incidents are small in comparison to the 20,000 skydives the company completes a season.

 

Police are still investigating the incident and trying to figure out how the skydivers became separated in the first place.

Link hienalouca.com

Body of skydiving instructor, 41, is found after he became separated from his student during jump

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