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obit: Joseph Svec -- parachutist dies

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  • Rosemary Ermis
    CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif.-- The death of a skydiver during filming of a movie about the original NASA astronauts will not affect the project s completion, a film
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 10, 2009
      CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif.-- The death of a skydiver during filming of a movie about the original NASA astronauts will not affect the project's completion, a film executive said Saturday.
       
      The skydiver, Joseph Svec, 35, of Houston, died Friday when his parachute failed to open during the last shot for the movie, "The Right Stuff."  The remainer of the film based upon Tom Wolfe's book had been finished since October, said Alan Ladd Jr., president of the Ladd Company.
       
      Svec's parachute apparently failed during a leap from 10,5000 feet above the Mojave Desert near Edwards Air Force Base, about 120 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
       
      The scene called for Svec to tumble out of control down to 4,000 feet and then deploy his parachute as a skydiving partner filmed the scene, according to Bob Phelps, manager of the California City Airport.  But at 4,000 feet, neither parachute opened.
       
      Phelps, who also is a skydiving trainer and a parachute rigger, had said Friday that Svec's main and reserve parachutes appeared to be okay when inspected after the tragedy.
       
      The scene was to be a re-enactment of an actual incident in which famed test pilot Chuck Yeager bailed out of a plane with his helmet on fire.
       
      Ladd said Saturday authorities still did not know the cause of the accident.
       
      Svec was an officer in the U.S. Parachute Association with more than 2,000 jumps. He was not a movie stuntman.
       
      New Braunfels herald-Zeitung Sunday, January 16, 1983
       
      Submitted by Rosemary Ermis
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