Skydiver died in Arizona record attempt after parachute malfunctioned

46-year-old Diana Paris had joined 222 other veteran skydivers in an attempt to break a record that was set last year

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The Independent Online

A German skydiver was killed in the US state of Arizona on Thursday morning, when her main parachute malfunctioned during a world record attempt involving hundreds of other veteran divers, police have confirmed.

46-year-old Diana Paris from the German capital of Berlin had joined skydivers attempting to set the record for the largest number of people to complete two aerial formations before deploying their parachutes.

She was declared dead on the scene after her equipment failed.

The group has since released footage of a missing man formation dive they have performed in memory of Ms Paris.

"The malfunctioning parachute was released too low to allow the reserve parachute to fully open," explained Jocelyn Bernatchez, a spokeswoman for SkyDive Arizona, the facility about 65 miles (105 km) south of Phoenix in Eloy where the event took place.

She added that the aeroplane used during the attempt had been functioning properly, and that weather conditions in Eloy were good at the time of the accident, which occurred at about 7:30 am local time.

The 222-person strong team from 28 countries had gathered at the popular US facility to break the previous record, involving 110 skydivers, which was set in Florida last year.

Their plan involved taking skydivers in multi-colored jumpsuits on-board 10 planes. They then had 80 seconds to complete kaleidoscope-like formations before opening their chutes.

The jump had been 18 months in the making, and saw the skydivers soar in the air at altitude of around 19,500 feet (6,000 meters), with an average free-fall speed of about 120 miles per hour (190 kmh).

Organizers said safety was foremost in their minds in their planning and execution of the complicated manoeuvre.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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