Thursday, July 21, 2005

Aussie BASE jumper 'couldn't open chute'

An Australian base jumper killed in Norway struggles to open his parachute as he leapt off a spectacular cliff, witnesses say.

Killed instantly in Tuesday's accident, he was the ninth person to die while jumping off the 1,000 metre high Kjerag Peak in western Norway since the first jump there in 1994.

He is the third Australian killed in BASE jumping accidents in less than a year.

An experienced BASE jumper aged in his 30s, he had lived in Stavanger for several years.

His name has not been released.

"Witnesses have told me that he had problems getting hold of the lever that opens the parachute," Vibeke Knutson, vice president of the Stavanger BASE Klubb, told Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.

"When he finally did, it was too late."

Solve Tanke Hovden, of the state rescue service, said the Australian "landed out of control" on a pile of stones and died immediately.

Ms Knutson said the man was an experienced BASE jumper who had logged "around 550" jumps.

Witnesses to Tuesday's accident were offered crisis counselling, but jumping would continue, she said.

The area around the Lysefjord, just east of Stavanger in western Norway, is popular with BASE jumpers because of its scenic and dramatic cliffs.

Ms Knutson said BASE jumpers wanting to throw themselves off Kjerag must show that they had parachuted out of planes at least 250 times. Novices planning the jump were first required to take a course in jumping, she said.

Last October Australian Roland Simpson was fatally injured while BASE jumping off a skyscraper in Shanghai, China.

Brisbane mechanic Jason Fitz-Herbert was on his way to attend Mr Simpson's funeral in Canberra last October when he was killed in a jump in the NSW Southern Highlands.

BASE is an acronym for the buildings, antennae, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs) from which enthusiasts parachute.

Can someone say Darwinism?

San Nakji for President!


fdfs said...

As they said when the burglar was killed dropping through a skylight, "Too bad, but he knew it was a dangerous line of work."

San Nakji said...