Two BASE jumpers were killed in the French Alps on Sunday after jumping off a cliff with a parachute. The victims were identified as a French and an Australian; one died in Isère, the other near Chamonix. According to an Aug. 18 BBC report, these two deaths are the third and fourth since the start of August in France.
BASE jumping, which is defined as an activity where participants jump from fixed objects and use a parachute to break their fall, had previously been banned from a French mountain peak where the Australian man plunged to his death.
The French BASE jumper, who is said to be 56-years-old and a native of Var, lunged from Mount Granier with another base jumper but hit a rocky outcrop located 200 meters down, on the north face of the cliff. Rescue personnel could not do anything to save him. He was "very experienced" according to The Guardian, having participated in a lot of jumping, skydiving, paragliding etc. Yet his death was caused by a misjudgment of distances.
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that French authorities said the 33-year-old Australian fell to his death after jumping from the summit of the 2525-meter Brevent peak, near Chamonix in south-eastern France, which is known as a notoriously difficult and technical BASE-jumping location. He was wearing a wingsuit which allows the wearer to glide through the air. Shortly after he jumped off the cliff, he soon struck trouble. He was found “several hundred meters below in a wooded area”, rescue workers said. They said the man was likely to have died on impact.
The name "BASE jumping" is an acronym for the four types of objects that jumpers leap from: building, antenna, span, and Earth (cliff). In the US, BASE jumping is currently regarded by many as a fringe extreme sport or stunt. According to Wikipedia, as of 21 May 2014, the online "BASE Fatality List" records 230 deaths for BASE jumping since April 1981. BASE jumping is extremely dangerous because jumpers have virtually no time at all to deal with problems or malfunctions. Many areas have even made the sport illegal.