ANDREA THOMAS Associated Press OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) - Falling at speeds of up to 220 mph, nearly 140 skydivers have shattered the vertical skydiving world record by flying heads-down in a massive snowflake formation in Illinois.
Three judges representing the international air sports federation certified that 138 skydivers successfully created the formation Friday during a skydiving festival in Ottawa, about 80 miles southwest of Chicago.
It took 15 attempts over three days for the team to successfully break the previous record of 108 skydivers set in 2009.
Following months of planning and tryouts, skydivers from around the world squeezed into six aircraft and launched themselves into the air at 18,500 feet.
Four camera operators jumped with the 138 participants to record the 150-foot-wide formation, to prove to the judges that all the jumpers were in their pre-assigned slots.
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