Parachuting: Bad Trip

Willfully jumping out of an airplane, with or without a parachute, may strike some people as a symptom of advanced insanity. Yet today in the U.S. there are 35,000 skydivers, and to them parachuting is a thing of beauty bordering on the psychedelic.

The 20 jumpers who took off last week from Ortner Field in north-central Ohio had each taken the plunge more than 100 times, and they were awaiting yet another rhapsodic game with gravity. By a concatenation of unbelievable stupidities, their "fun jump" became a tragically bad trip.

The idea was to leap from 20,000 ft., free-fall exhilaratingly...

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