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Skydiving accident kills man in Palatka

9:39 PM, May 25, 2013   |    comments
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PALATKA, Fla. -- A 73-year-old died in a skydiving accident in Palatka Saturday afternoon.

According to the Palatka Police Department, the diver's name was Lawrence Leroy Elmore, also known as Larry.

The man was skydiving with the company Skydive Palatka around 3:30 p.m. when the incident occured. 

Observers said he was spinning, indicating that his parachute did not open properly. 

The incident occurred at Palatka Municipal Airport. The Keystone Heights resident was jumping alone at the time, according to police. 

The owner of Skydive Palatka says Elmore was a regular, an experienced sky diver with a passion for jumping.

"You know we lost somebody today, it happens. You know there's people that come and go, Larry is one of the ones who kept jumping over the years and never gave it up," said Art Shaffer, owner of Skydive Palatka.

Elmore was an experienced diver, recording around 6,000 jumps. 

"He was a great guy he gave a lot back to the sport he took a lot of young jumpers under his arm and tried to teach them some of the stuff he knew," said Shaffer.

We found a you-tube video of Elmore where he jumped 72 times on his 70th birthday in April 2011. The site says on his 60 birthday he made 60 jumps.

Elmore's facebook says he is single. It says he is member of POPS, a club for sky divers over the age of 40. In a YouTube video he's listed as a participant of a 2006 POPS group sky diving event in Texas. Shaffer says Elmore just loved being in the air.

"He loved to fly he was a Navy Pilot for a number of years and flew in Vietnam," said Shaffer.

Palatka Police are still investigating the incident, but say there is no foul play suspected. Skydive Palatka owner says he has about 20 to 30 regulars jump on Saturdays and like Elmore, the experienced sky divers use their own gear.

A YouTube video shows Elmore skydiving on his 70th birthday. 

First Coast News

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