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MTV extreme sports star killed in Calif. skydiving accident

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. -An extreme sports and MTV star skydiving for the opening ceremony of a golf event in Northern California died when he struck a tree Monday, authorities said.

The Placer County Sheriff's office says witnesses reported the skydiver -- identified as 39-year-old Erik Lars Roner of Tahoe City, Calif. -- was one member of a group conducting a skydiving performance for the golf event.

Roner was a member of Nitro Circus, an action sport collective that has its own MTV television show, reports CBS Sacramento. He also hosted TV show "Locals" on sports network Outside Television.

Authorities say Roner "impacted a tree while attempting to land and became entangled with the tree high above the ground." It happened in Olympic Valley just before 10 a.m.

Rescue personnel were able to remove Roner from the tree, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other skydivers participating in the event landed safely.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing and the FAA has been notified, the sheriff's office says.

Roy Tuscany, a friend of Roner, who witnessed the accident said it occurred right before a celebrity golf tournament was about to begin Monday morning.

Tuscany said that he watched as two other parachutists landed safely on the golf course's fairway for the 9th hole but then looked on in horror when Roner slammed hard into a tree about 25-30 feet above the ground.

He said Roner's parachute got caught in the tree and Roner dangled there while many on the ground scrambled to find ladders and other means to get to him. At one point, several people attempted to stand on one another's shoulder to reach him.

"There's no protocol for this kind of rescue," Tuscany said. "There's no manual. It was just horrible."

Tuscany described his friend Roner as "always positive" and a "big supporter" of the local community.

He said Roner was "hilarious and was a "stand-up guy" who could always be counted on to help out with benefit events like the golf tournament sponsored by the Squaw Valley Institute, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as being "dedicated to presenting enriching and inspirational programs to the Lake Tahoe region."

"We are still trying to process this tragedy," said Rob Faris, senior VP, programming and production at Outside Television. "Our hearts go out to his family."

Outside Television will air "Locals" from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

Roner's death comes four months after world-famous wingsuit flyer Dean Potter and fellow adventurer Graham Hunt fatally crashed after the pair leaped from Taft Point, 3,500-feet above Yosemite Valley, attempting to clear a V-shaped notch in a ridgeline.

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