Thursday, March 1, 2012

NSW: Injured base jumper could be charged

AAP General News (Australia)
NSW: Injured base jumper could be charged

By Roz King

SYDNEY, April 26 AAP - A man who broke his pelvis and legs while attempting a base
jump off a cliff in Sydney could be charged, police said today.

The 31-year-old man, whose name has not been released, also suffered spinal injuries
when his parachute base jump from a cliff in Sydney's Royal National Park went horribly
wrong yesterday.

A wind gust slammed the man against a cliff face north of Garie Beach as his parachute opened.

He then fell 100 metres over several small rock ledges and landed at the base of the cliff.

Rescuers from the Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter winched him to safety.

Base jumping is illegal in NSW and a police spokeswoman said it was possible the man
could face charges.

"But we still haven't spoken with him yet, due to the extent of his injuries," she said.

The injured jumper was taken to Prince of Wales Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Westpac Lifesaver operations manager Stephen Leahy praised the rescue team, but said
there was risk involved.

"What we would say is that base jumpers need to be aware it is illegal to jump off
cliffs in New South Wales," he told AAP.

"It is a most dangerous sport.

"They need to consider the hazards involved instead of us having to come and rescue them."

Several base jumps in New South Wales in recent years have had tragic consequences.

In April last year a 38-year-old man plunged to his death after jumping from a cliff
in the remote Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. His parachute had failed
to open in time.

In August 1997, a man died after his parachute was caught in trees as he jumped from
a cliff in the NSW southern highland.

The Australian Parachuting Federation, which does not support base jumping, said it
was particularly dangerous because jumpers had no time to open a reserve chute if something
went wrong.

"In parachuting you're opening your parachute at about 2,000 feet and you've got nothing
to hit if the parachute opens awkwardly," a federation spokesman said.

"You've got time to use your reserve chute.

"In base jumping you're really betting on the one chute."

Most problems with base jumpers are caused by the jumpers facing the wrong way when
their chute opens, he said.

"If the parachute opens when they're facing the cliff they'd go straight into it."

Base stands for building, aerial, span bridges and earth.

AAP rk/rp/hu/sb


2001 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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