Investigators say it will take several more weeks to investigate the death of a skydiving instructor during a jump in Lebanon.

Maine State Police, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are all working to determine how skydiving instructor Brett Bickford, 41, of Rochester, New Hampshire, fell a mile to his death during a tandem jump on Sept. 27.

“It is going to take a considerable amount of time because of the complexity of the case,” Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said Thursday.

McCausland said experts will be brought in to help investigators work through what might have happened. Investigators are trying to determine how Bickford gpt separated from a student skydiver after the parachute had deployed during a jump around 2 p.m. last Thursday. The student skydiver, who has not been identified, landed safely.

Bickford’s body was found Friday about 750 feet southwest of the Lebanon Airport runway by a team of game wardens, a state trooper and two members of a search-and-rescue team. The tandem jump was conducted by Skydive New England in Lebanon.

Officials said last week that tandem jumps typically are made with the student and instructor in separate harnesses that are attached, with the instructor secured behind the student. The instructor wears the parachute and controls its deployment during free-fall and landings.


Bickford worked as an instructor at Skydive New England for 10 years. He had a pilot’s license, drone license and was designing and building drones, according to his obituary. He was a member of the U.S. Parachute Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

“Brett was one amazing smart young man,” his obituary said. “Those who knew Brett know he had a free spirit of life to live one day at a time. Brett’s smile and laughter live on in all who knew him.”

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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Twitter: @grahamgillian

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