A sky-diver died when a stunt on his 99th parachute jump went fatally wrong.

An inquest heard yesterday how Mark Dare, a 21-year-old teacher from Shoreham, was sky-diving in the French Alps when the accident occurred.

And friends and neighbours last night spoke of their sadness at losing "a very special person who touched a lot of lives".

West Sussex coroner Roger Stone was yesterday told how Mr Dare, of Woodards View, Shoreham, died when a combined sky-dive went wrong.

The adventure sports enthusiast was an avid canoeist and had recorded 98 parachute descents since he began sky-diving in 2004.

His 99th jump was to be a 3,800 feet drop the Laragne region of France.

Instructors said shortly after 9am on June 21 last year he took off from the Gap-Tallard airfield with a number of other parachutists.

The sky-divers fell through the air together before separating and Mr Dare opened his parachute.

But as he got dangerously close to the ground he completed three or four tight turns before striking the ground.

The inquest heard he had been attempting a "flair" - gliding down to earth in a series of graceful circles.

But experts believe Mr Dare may have become disoriented and faint by the rotations and, unable to gauge his height correctly, plunged violently into the ground.

Seriously injured and in a coma, he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Grenoble where he died the following day.

The inquest at Worthing was told Mr Dare's accident was caused solely by human error.

Marc Chardavoine, the director of the French parachute centre, said the flair stunt should only be performed at heights above 500 metres.

Mr Dare had attempted it at about 200 metres.

Francois Prunier, a French parachuting expert appointed to investigate the incident, said to attempt the manoeuvre with Mr Dare's experience was also "a risky business and unlikely to end in success".

Mr Stone recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: "Mr Dare was somebody who died doing something he enjoyed. It was a true human tragedy."

Neighbours of the Dare family said yesterday the 21-year-old was a very friendly and happy lad who always said hello to people.

He had battled with dyslexia before qualifying as a teacher.

Doug Pearch said: "We thought a lot of him around here. We were gutted to hear what happened. He was a really good example to others in more ways than one.

"He was very much into science - some fairly complicated subjects - and he did really well to become a teacher. To overcome his dyslexia like that was quite a feat.

"But with this he just made a really unfortunate mistake. He was very responsible but he enjoyed doing all his sports to the limit."

Tributes have poured in for the daredevil since his death.

A message on the Adur Canoe Club website, of which Mr Dare was a member, said: "He was a person who always managed to bring a smile to your face however you felt and his bubbly fun, larger than life personality will be missed by us all.

"His positive attitude to everything always lifted us and we are all so very much richer for having known him."