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Skydiving instructor killed, student hurt in Mississippi accident

By Jonathan Kaminsky

(Reuters) - A skydiving instructor died and his student was seriously injured after crash landing in woods in southern Mississippi during a tandem jump, officials said on Sunday.

The instructor, James Horak Jr., 56, was among a group that jumped together after taking off from the Lumberton, Mississippi, airport Saturday morning, said Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel.

Other divers accompanying Horak told authorities that the cords Horak used to control the parachute appeared to be tangled, Rigel said.

"Something didn't look right on his main chute," Rigel said, adding the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.

The name of Horak's student and the extent of his injuries were not immediately known, though he appeared to have suffered broken bones and a head injury, Rigel said.

Horak, of Pensacola, Florida, was an instructor at the Emerald Coast Skydiving Center in Elberta, Alabama. His biography on the company's website identified him as its most experienced instructor, with more than 4,000 jumps to his credit.

Phone messages left with the company Sunday evening were not immediately returned.

(Editing by Dina Kyriakidou, Jane Sutton, Doina Chiacu)

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