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Parachutist dies trying to land on Gateway Arch

ST. LOUIS -- A lone parachutist crashed to his death today apparently trying to land his parasail atop the 630-foot-high Gateway Arch on the city's Mississippi riverfront.

Police had few details on the death, and were withholding the name of the victim pending notification of relatives.

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Witnesses told police and reporters the man jumped from a plane over the arch about 8:45 a.m. CST and floated down under a large parasail.

One witness, James Spears, said he was driving on a highway near the Arch when he saw the parasail and its rider apparently land on top of the structure.

Spears told KMOX-Radio it appeared a gust of wind knocked the man off the north side of the Arch, causing him to slide and fall down the north leg. Spears said the man struggled with what looked like a parachute pack on his back as he fell to his death.

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