Monday, March 9, 2009

Grindelwald wants to limit BASE jumping

An article in the swiss newspaper today, talks about a jump of which we posted video earlier.

Translation by christoph zimmerli:
Grindelwald wants to limit BASE jumping
skydivers provocate the people with risky wingsuitflights.

the president of the village of grindelwald wants to ban basejumping from helicopters when people are being endangered.

in corrrect terms its called "low pass". two weeks ago two BASEjumpers did such a flight at the männlichen, BE. they jumped from a helicopter with "wingsuits", special dresses that change freefall into horicontal flight, directed at a mountain-restaurant, turned off short before and disapppeared over the mountainridge in a couloir. they then proceeded flying along the mountainside. at the tightest spot the men were only 15ft above the ground and had only 6ft to the side of the rock. at a velocity of 250 km/h.

actually joakim sommer and dominik loyen wanted to do a second flight. but the pilot of the helicopter refused. "we didnt knew what the two were up to" says daniel sulzer, the manager of the helicopter transportation company. "such insane stunts are not our line of business".

"this shall not be"
the president of the village of grindelwald, emanuel schläppi, that saw a video of the flight on the internet, does not want to see this happening in his community ever again. "based on the video i have the impression that other people could have been endangered" says schläppi, "this shall not be". he considers to ban flights over public places and over people, if such flights would be repeated.

dominik loyen doesnt understand the reactions. "we've planned the project exactly" says the german, that tours throught the world as a feelancing adventurer. angle, exitpoint and route were carefully planned with the help of "google earth". friends of his were present on the ground and had warned tourists and asked them to leave the area. "we've ensured not to endanger anyone". he considers himself not to be a nutcase but a sportsman. 600 to 1000 skydives and around 100 basejumps the 40yrs old makes per year. the money he spends mostly on traveling he earns as a skydiving-instructor. asked if he valued his life less than others that wouldnt risk it on a daily basis he replied "quite the opposite in fact. i feel more alive and concious after jumping". but fact is that "BASEjumping and proximity flying", how flying close to the ground and mountainsides is called, are considered to be extreme sports (risk sports?). only last week two BASEjumpers died in the valais and in lauterbrunnen (BE). one of them was a friend of dominik loyen.

learning from accidents
"of course you make up your mind" says loyen. he'd ask himself what went wrong. "it sounds zynical, but we learn from the dead".

after calls for banning the activity in recent years after deaths occured on jumps, BASEjumping is accepted now in lauterbrunnen. one of the reasons being that the adrenaline-tourists bring some money.

2008 there were about 10'000 jumps in the valley, 23 ending in an accident, 3 of those fatal. "the sport became safer", says bruno durrer, who works as a paramedic for air glacier, and has rescued already lots of BASEjumpers. his team developed a special technique to rescue people from mountainsides, if they entangled with their parachutes. he doesnt object the sportsmen "we have a natural adventure topo, this should be used. they need the opportunity to find boundaries." durrer does not accept tough when while performing those activities other people are being endangered. "if you fly over a fully occupied restaurant, that has potential for desaster".

but dominik loyen already has other plans. next fall he wants to invite the 16 best BASEjumpers worldwide and fly with them from the eiger over the east ridge over to grindelwald. and if he refrains from flying over habitated areas, the village president wont stop him from doing so.

No comments:

Post a Comment