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Experienced skydiver dies in Florida accident while trying to avoid another jumper

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Posted at 6:45 AM, Feb 19, 2020

SEBASTIAN, Fla. (AP) — An experienced skydiver died in Florida while attempting to avoid another jumper during a landing, authorities said.

Christian Stevens, 49, of Canton, Georgia, was taken to a Sebastian hospital, where he was pronounced dead after Monday's accident, said Sebastian police spokesman Timothy Wood. Stevens had been part of a professional jumping group call Team Fastrax, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.

Team Fastrax had been training at Skydive Sebastian and scheduled a jump Monday morning to coincide with a SpaceX launch in Cape Canaveral, about 45 miles (73 kilometers) to the north. The Ohio-based team's Facebook page said team members performed a routine called a nine-way diamond as the rocket took off.

"Christian was a solid American that served our nation as an Army Ranger, a loving Father, a devoted Husband and a Teammate that was our Brother," the team posted on Facebook.

Stevens, who had approximately 20 years of skydiving experience and served as an instructor, was avoiding another jumper and hit the ground at a high rate of speed, Wood said.

Sebastian police will work with the Federal Aviation Administration on the investigation.