Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Extreme Sports Anyone?
"Thanks Life" was (part of) a Facebook message posted by Gabriel Hubert, a BASE jumper in the above video. The post stated (expletives deleted): "Sun is shining . . . going wingsuiting . . . Thanks life."
For those unfamiliar with the term (like myself), BASE stands for building, antenna, span, and earth (cliff). BASE jumpers are experienced skydivers who parachute or wingsuit fly from a fixed structure or cliff.
Perhaps because it's there ?
Jumpers wear a specialized nylon outfit called a wingsuit that has fabric stitched between the arms and legs. It increases a jumper's surface area to allow flying at horizontal distances at a slower descent rate. Wingsuit fliers wear parachute equipment specially designed for skydiving or BASE-jumping.
Because of their appearance, wingsuits are called flying squirrel or birdman suits. Costs range from $1,000 to $2,000 (USD). Commercial wingsuits were developed in the 1990s although parachutists had experimented with wings as early as the 1930s.
The sport is not without its dangers even for experienced sports enthusiasts. Hubert was an avid BASE jumper nicknamed "Ramrod."
He became the 11th person to die in this extreme sport so far this year.
The Facebook post was done before his second and last wingsuit jump two weeks ago. He was jumping near Canmore, Alberta with others who landed safely. Hubert's parachute failed to open and he hit a group of trees. He died at the scene.
In May, Dean Potter and Graham Hunt, two experienced U.S. jumpers were killed in Yosemite National Park while wingsuit BASE jumping. Potter set a record for completing the longest BASE jump from the Eiger North Face, Switzerland by staying in a wingsuit for nearly 3 minutes. He was featured in this National Geographic wingsuit documentary ironically titled, Fly or Die. In 2009.