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Police: Man intentionally loosened harness in fatal skydive

November 26, 2018

LEBANON, Maine (AP) — State police say a skydiving instructor intentionally loosened his harness in midair when he fell to his death in a September tandem jump in Maine.

Police said Monday the state medical examiner’s office ruled 41-year-old Brett Bickford’s death as a suicide.

Bickford, of Rochester, New Hampshire, fell to his death after he and a student became separated during the Sept. 27 jump. Bickford was an instructor with Skydive New England.

State police said interviews with other skydivers and industry officials concluded no experienced skydiver would loosen a parachute harness by mistake.

Both people use the same parachute in a tandem jump. Bickford’s body was found about 750 feet from the Lebanon Airport runway on Sept. 28.

The second man in the tandem jump landed safely with the parachute.

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