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Videotape shows veteran skydiver forgot parachute

LOUISBURG, N.C. -- A veteran sky-diver who fell 10,500 feet to his death apparently forgot to wear a parachute in his excitement to film other sky-divers, police said Monday after seeing footage taken by the man during his final free fall.

Ivan Lester McGuire, 35, of Durham died in the bizarre accident Saturday.

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McGuire was filming a jump by other parachutists. Footage recorded by a voice-activated camera attached to his helmet led investigators to believe McGuire did not realize he was without a parachute until he reached for his ripcord.

'It kind of appears he reached for his parachute and didn't have one,' Capt. Ralph Brown said after reviewing the tape. 'You could only see the instructor and the student falling on the video. But the release for his parachute is on his right hip, and when that right hand goes down, the left hand goes forward and it comes into camera view.

'It's kind of boggled in there, and it sounded like he may have said, 'Oh no,' right after his left hand came into view,' Brown said.

'Then the pictures get to moving real fast because he's approaching the ground at 150 mph. The only thing the camera shows is the ground coming.'

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Brown said he was '99 percent sure' McGuire was never wearing a parachute. None of the other 11 jumpers in the plane could remember whether McGuire had a parachute on.

'We are all preoccupied with doing our own job,' said Paul Fayard, owner of the Franklin County Sport Parachute Center.

'I think in the excitement over taping the show, I think he just forgot his parachute,' Brown said. 'As far as the sheriff's department is concerned, it was an accident.'

Police said McGuire was a veteran of more than 800 jumps and aspired to being the best sky-diving photographer in the country.

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