Skilled Skydiver, 81, Dies When His Parachute Malfunctions

He had done more than 2,500 jumps.
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A skilled parachutist was killed when his parachute malfunctioned while skydiving over the weekend.

Gerald Fisher, 81, who was a former Army parachutist, died when his parachute suffered what's known as a “hard opening,” opening rapidly instead of gradually, during a skydive in Montana on Saturday.

Hard openings are known to cause severe injuries, and bystanders said Fisher’s parachute started turning counter-clockwise once he opened it, the Daily Mail reported.

“It was a tragic accident,' said Jim Krogh, 69, told the Bismark Tribune.

Emergency workers responded to the scene at Skydive Lost Prairie around 12:45 p.m., but Fisher could not be saved, according to reports. 

Fisher, who lived in Minnesota, had completed more than 2,500 jumps in his lifetime, and was even part of a 12-person group who broke the Minnesota skydiving record for largest formation of people at the highest altitude of 14,500 feet.

This particular jump was part of the the 52nd annual Lost Prairie Boogie, an event that attracts skydivers worldwide.

Krogh told the paper he didn’t think Fisher’s death had anything to do with age.

“It was a normal skydive with a bad ending," he said. “Skydiving is a dangerous sport that can generally be conducted safely. Accidents are very rare and getting rarer.”

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