Source AP ©

Skydiving formation beats world record

One hundred skydivers linked together after opening their parachutes during a jump - a new world record, but another skydiver died after being injured in an earlier practice run.

The 100 jumpers joined together on the second of two attempts on Wednesday, using their hands and feet to hook up to adjacent open parachutes after jumping from five planes flying at staggered altitudes over Florida. The result was a diamond about 200 feet (60 meters) on each side.

The jump was seven years in the making, according to Mike Lewis, one of its organizers.

Skydiver Joseph Lambraith, 49, of Gilbert, Arizona, was injured during a practice jump Saturday when he fell to the ground after his foot became entangled in the cord of another parachute, officials said. He died Tuesday. The other skydiver landed safely using his reserve chute, Lewis said.

The successful formation Wednesday was confirmed by four judges from the U.S. Parachute Association and broke a previous record for an open canopy formation involving 85 jumpers, according to The Ledger newspaper of Lakeland. There was no additional comment from the group Thursday; no one answered calls to the association's office.

The association lists the record for the largest freefall formation - in which jumpers link up before opening their parachutes - as 400 people, set in 2006 in Thailand.

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