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Missing skydive instructor identified, search continues

According to Maine State Police, a skydiving instructor with Skydive New England in Lebanon became detached from his student during a tandem jump. (WGME)

LEBANON (WGME) -- Crews are continuing to search for a missing skydiving instructor in Lebanon.

The Maine Warden Service says 41-year-old Brett Bickford, of Rochester, NH, is presumed dead.

Witnesses say Bickford jumped out of a plane during a tandem skydiving session with a student when the two somehow detached from each other in the sky.

The search for Bickford began around 2 p.m. Thursday and resumed Friday at 7 a.m.

Wardens say the separation happened thousands of feet up in the sky once the parachute deployed.

Wardens have a professional search team doing what they call “grid searching,” meaning they are going through the search area in sections.

“Based on some witness statements that we’re hoping are somewhat accurate, we’ve pinpointed an area where we’re at least initially looking for Bickford,” John MacDonald, with the Maine Warden Service, said.

Over 100 people are on the scene helping with the search, including Maine State Police and family members.

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