Minnesota man, 81, dies in skydiving accident in Montana

The experienced skydiver lost control after a "hard opening."
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An 81-year-old Minnesota man died in a skydiving accident in Montana. 

The tragic incident happened around 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at Skydive Lost Prarie near Marion, Montana, when Gerald F. Fischer, of Moorhead, jumped from a plane and fell to his death, according to the Flathead County Sheriff's Office. 

A press release from the sheriff's office says Fischer experienced a "hard opening" when he released his parachute, causing him to turn counter clockwise under the canopy at about 4,000 feet. Fischer continued to spin counter clockwise until he crashed into a pasture. 

Fischer, an experienced skydiver with more than 2,000 jumps under his belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

According to Westpoint Skydiving Adventures, a hard opening happens at the end of a free fall when jumpers deploy their parachute. It can result in injuries to the skydiver and cause equipment damage. 

Fischer's obituary states that he was born Dec. 25, 1937 in Moorhead, where he was raised and continued to live. He excelled in wrestling while attending Moorhead High School, his obituary adds. 

There were 13 skydiving fatalities out of approximately 3.3 million attempts in 2018, according to the United States Parachute Association

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