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Veteran Sky Diver Killed in Practice

January 29, 1996|EMI ENDO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The skydiving community remained shaken Sunday after a veteran Long Beach sky diver plunged to his death on a residential street in Perris this weekend.

Larry Langrand, 50, had jumped out of a plane for practice Saturday morning when a loose line became entangled with the rigging from his main and backup parachutes, police said.

"It just instills in you that you've got to be very, very careful," said Melanie Conatser, owner of Perris Valley Skydiving Center. "At the same time, Larry wouldn't want us to stop what we love to do."

Langrand had jumped about 4,500 times in the last 30 years, said Anne Helliwell, a skydiving teacher and safety instructor at the internationally known parachuting center.

Langrand--bearing a pouch holding three long banners beneath his parachutes--jumped out of the plane at 12,500 feet with a partner and they began free falling together, practicing for an upcoming show, Helliwell said.

At about 3,000 feet, the banners and parachutes were to be released. "You fly around each other, then the banners and you all land together," Helliwell said. "That was the plan."

Part of the banner system got tangled, however and prevented the parachutes from deploying, Helliwell said, estimating that Langrand hit the ground at about 120 mph.

His body was found less than a mile north of the airport runway, Perris Police Sgt. Vince Scarpino said. A coroner's inquiry is pending, but Langrand suffered "massive head injuries," Scarpino said.

"He was a very safety-conscious person," Helliwell said. "He would always double-check" his equipment. Langrand and his partner had performed safely in previous shows at the Riverside County site, she said.

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