Friday, September 5, 2014

Another wingsuit accident claims another life

I've put up several wingsuit videos here over the years, and always said you couldn't pay me enough to fly as close to the ground as they do.  On September 2nd another of them was killed after cutting the margin just too fine.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Alex Duncan died doing what he loved. The 26-year-old, from Manly, was new to the international wingsuit scene but had been involved in extreme sports since he was a teenager.

He was killed on Tuesday after crashing into a mountainside during a jump in the Swiss Alps.

"You have to be brave," he said in a YouTube video, posted just a fortnight ago, in which he explained his love for the sport.

. . .

"There's definitely a danger involved and it can be very high risk if you don't take precautions and you don't consider the conditions and you don't do training," he said.

"People are definitely getting hurt and dying and generally it's because they're making some sort of mistake that could have been avoided.

"Because it's a new sport, there's a lot of learning and every year it's getting safer, and more people are doing it and there's better technology. It's a nice time to be involved in the sport, when it's growing."

In recent days, Duncan had been wingsuit flying amid the clouds of the Chamonix Valley at Mont Blanc in the French Alps, before moving on to Switzerland.

He was killed in the rugged region of Valais while jumping from the near summit of the 2243-metre [7,359-foot] Croix de Fer peak with another jumper, police said.

. . .

About 20 wingsuit pilots are killed each year, and the Swiss Alps are something of a hotspot. New Zealander Dan Vicary, 33, died there earlier this year, as did base-jumper Alan McCandlish, also from NZ, in 2012.

There's more at the link.

Here's the last video clip Mr. Duncan posted to his YouTube account, on August 30th.  It shows him and a friend on a wingsuit jump in the Chamonix Valley (he's wearing the camera).

And here's a video from a couple of years ago where he demonstrates 'proximity flying', getting as close as possible to the ground.  That's what he was doing when he got too close, and was killed.

I hope he enjoyed it . . . and that he regarded the price to be paid as worth the risk.  I suspect his family didn't.



Sherm said...

So ground effect has a two edged meaning for these guys.

And no, there isn't money enough.

PapaMAS said...

You type "wingsuit"; I read "wingnut".

LL said...

I can't help but respect the rush.

But, as to one's family, that's another matter, isn't it?

ASM826 said...

Tied the low altitude record. Pilots have been doing that for 110 years.