Posts Tagged base jumping

Newlywed Dies BASE Jumping When Chute Doesn’t Open

Amber Bellows prepares to jump

Amber Bellows prepares to jump

After showing so many clips and videos of dangerous sports, I feel obliged to remind everyone that even experienced jumpers take life-threatening risks that sometimes don’t work out at all. Sad also that this woman had just married her BASE jumping husband. The video above gives you a slight taste of the thrills Amber and her husband sought and enjoyed when jumping.

Amber loved to jump

Amber loved to jump

the risks did not deter her

the risks did not deter her

A Utah woman attempting a parachute jump near Zion National Park died when her parachute failed to open, park officials said.

Amber Bellows fell about 2,000 feet to the ground Saturday afternoon, February 8th. The 28-year-old had been attempting the jump from Mount Kinesava, in the southern part of the park famous for its soaring red rock formations.

Bellows hiked to the top of the mountain Saturday morning with her husband, 29-year-old Clayton Butler. The Salt Lake City couple had married just two weeks before.

Bellows jumped first, around 4 p.m., but her parachute did not open. Her husband jumped after her but could not reach her body. It took him two hours to hike down the mountain and notify park officials.

Officials began a helicopter search on Sunday morning and found Bellows’ body by 10 a.m.

Park officials said Bellows had been an experienced BASE jumper. BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth — the different platforms used by jumpers.

BASE jumping is banned in Zion, and this is the first time a jumper has died.

The videographer and manager of Bellows, Joshua Lloyd, called both Bellows and Butler experienced and conscientious, saying her death was a “tragic accident.” He also stated that Bellows was one of the world’s best BASE jumpers. In hopes of furthering her career and becoming a professional BASE jumper, Lloyd was hired by Bellows and Butler to record their jumps, which numbered in the hundreds before the accident at Mount Kinesava.

“It is just really sad and our condolences go out to her family and friends,” Acting Superintendent Jim Milestone said in a statement. “BASE jumping is so dangerous. Even for those that are experienced, like Amber Bellows. That is one of the reasons it is not allowed in the park.”

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Overcoming Your Fears

“Channel Your Fear Into Positive Energy” is a suggestion I have heard and attempted to apply for decades. You have that exciting tension that is outside of the normal sensation, and you have to break through some kind of barrier. I remember standing on the edge of a 20-foot-high diving board for half an hour when I was not yet a teen. I came down the steps…although I eventually climbed back up and jumped.

I remember standing in the open door of a military plane for five minutes as we approached the drop zone. What am I doing here, I wondered? Was I going to die in a few minutes? Then the green light came on, and the jumpmaster punched me in the butt and out into the air. I remember the next day in the plane, when a fellow jumper refused to go, after having a dream the night before that his mother was crying over his coffin. We all deal with fears somehow and to varying degrees. Some people can’t even watch others in risky or dangerous or death-defying situations. What are your thresholds?

Before yesterday, Felix Baumgartner said he was nervous about his leap from the stratosphere. But the 43-year-old daredevil—who has jumped from some of the world’s tallest buildings and soared across the English Channel in freefall using a carbon wing—regards a tinge of fear as a good thing.

“Having been involved in extreme endeavors for so long, I’ve learned to use my fear to my advantage,” Baumgartner said. “Fear has become a friend of mine. It’s what prevents me from stepping too far over the line.”

And from another article: A number of things could go wrong: his blood could boil, he could go into an uncontrolled spin and be knocked unconscious, he could smash into the ground.

Ironically, the one thing that the Austrian extremes-man feared the most was the full body gear that will ultimately protect him from all these terrible possibilities.

The New York Times’ John Tierny writes: Mr. Baumgartner, a former Austrian paratrooper who became known as Fearless Felix by leaping off buildings, landmarks and once into a 600-foot cave, said that this was his toughest challenge, because of the complexity involved and because of an unexpected fear he had to overcome: claustrophobia. During five years of training, he started suffering panic attacks when he had to spend hours locked inside the stiff pressurized suit and helmet necessary for survival at the edge of space

Baumgartner conquered his fear through therapy and guidance from 84-year-old Joseph Kittinger, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who jumped from 19.5 miles in 1960. Until Baumgartner’s successful jump is completed, Kittinger still holds the current world record for highest altitude parachute jump.

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Mr. Death Loves Thrill Seekers At Birthday Parties

Talking to some friends yesterday about thrills like parachuting and paragliding, I reached for my computer and showed the June 15th video on this site of people screaming excitedly during their maiden tandem BASE jump. Suddenly I saw that my friend was not smiling, but crying, and she asked me to turn it off. A neighbor and friend of a friend in her town was being buried as we talked after making a first-time, tandem parachute jump from a plane in which the chute never opened and both jumpers were killed. More poignantly, the jumps were gifts at a 50th birthday party for guests who had the courage and interest to try it out. I heard how the man’s wife also jumped and was walking along afterward looking for her lost husband. The CBS news story starts out like this:

David Winoker was a guy who didn’t take chances, always driving below the speed limit, always using several layers of sun block. His wife says she urged him to go skydiving Friday, and he reluctantly agreed. Taking that risk cost him his life…Three million people skydive in this country every year. In 2011, there were 21 related fatalities. Of those, just one was a tandem jump like Winoker’s.

As I started to tell my daughter about it later on, she interrupted and said she definitely wants to try jumping…and then I told her about this accident. A severe reminder that there is always danger in these thrilling adventures that take no skill, no practice. Just courage and money. When I jumped out of planes 50 years ago, it was after three weeks of conditioning under strict supervision. Yet people were killed and injured anyway. It’s a risky game. And jumping in tandem is definitely not a sport.

A few days earlier, I’d found this story about an experienced mountain climber who fell to his death. I knew two people who went hiking and fell over cliffs and died. It all sounds so idyllic, but accidents do happen, even to experienced professionals.

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Tandem Cliff Jumping For Newbies

This video of amateurs making their first jump in tandem off of a cliff is really exciting. Wait until you here one lady screaming with fear!! I made solo, low altitude parachute jumps decades ago in the army using a static line. But somehow I don’t think I am ready for this new sport. How about you?

Here is a long long article that accompanied the video. And just for the record, BASE jumping is the extreme younger cousin of sky diving, which many probably think is extreme enough. Rather than dropping from planes, however, BASE jumpers fall from objects attached to Earth. That is the acronym: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and Earth itself.

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Top 10 Biggest And Best Jumps Ever

Afraid to jump into a swimming pool off of a “high” diving board of 10 feet? Then you will have a real rush watching these fearless humans perform jumps you can’t imagine sane humans would ever consider executing.

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