‘Carnage’ As Wingsuit BASE Jumping Death Spree Reaches 20

Hungarian wingsuit flyer Victor Kovats jumps off a mountain at Tianmen Mountain National Park in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province October 8, 2013. Hungarian veteran wingsuit flyer Kovats died after failing to deploy his parachute prior to landing at the world championship staged here in central China on Tuesday. Kovats' body was found on Wednesday morning after a team of more than 200 rescuers carried out searching by foot in the forests with no helicopter available on the spot. Initial analysis said the reason for the Hungarian's plunge might relate to "technical problem during the trial". Picture taken October 8, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily (CHINA - Tags: DISASTER SPORT) CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA - RTX144P1

Wingsuit BASE jumping is in crisis after a deadly summer saw 15 jumpers die in the space of a single month.

The latest death in Canada – a man wearing a Vampire-themed wingsuit – brings the total for the year to an unprecedented 20.

At least one person died while posting footage of his flight live on Facebook.

Police have confirmed that the body of a jumper who went missing on a mountain in Canmore, Canada, on Sunday, had now been recovered.

All victims wore wingsuits; special jumpsuits fitted with fabric under the arms and between the legs which turn jumpers into ‘human wings’.

They effectively allow the wearer to ‘fly’.

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But the dangers of wingsuit BASE jumping are some 50 times higher than conventional skydiving.

Analysts suggest that jumpers face around a-one-in 2,000 chance of death each time they jump.

It is understood the sport is attracting more people because devotees are attracting them with live posts on YouTube and Facebook.

:: BASE Jump Fatality List

“It’s been a horrific last couple of months,” Richard Webb, a wingsuit BASE jumper from Utah, told National Geographic magazine.

“This is easily the worst season I can remember … I’m tired of the carnage.”

 28-year-old Italian father Armin Schmieder broadcast his death live on Facebook after leaping from a precipice near Kandersteg in Switzerland before crashing into a ridge.

Armin Schmieder broadcast his death live on Facebook

Last week, German jumper Alexander Polli, who was considered one of the sports most experienced jumpers, died.

He hit a tree while attempting a complicated “corkscrew” manoeuvre after leaping from a mountain in Chamonix, France.

Polli became a YouTube sensation after a video of him flying his suit through a hole in the side of a mountain racked up 14 million hits.

He said during an interview in 2013 that he was “extremely scared” of dying.

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Speaking after Polli’s death, Colonel Stephane Bozon, head of mountain rescue services in Chamonix, said: “It is a practice that frightens us … we must return to people behaving a little more rationally.”

A few days later 28-year-old Italian father Armin Schmieder broadcast his death live on Facebook.

He leapt from a precipice near Kandersteg in Switzerland before crashing into a ridge.

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The latest case saw a Brazilian man killed jumping from Grotto mountain in Canada, a 3600ft peak.

According to the website Bling, which catalogues all deaths, the jumper was with two others when he hit a ledge 150m below the take-off point.

“He started flying too low, and impacted the ledge with his chest,” a statement on the website read.

“He then tumbled down the mountain, coming to a stop on a ledge another 500ft lower.

“The severity of the impact shows death was instantaneous.”

US jumper and wingsuit manufacturer Matt Gerdes has warned that jumpers’ lack of knowledge needs to be addressed.

In a Facebook post he wrote: “There are a lot of people saying a lot of things about wingsuit BASE deaths.

“But if we were to work on just one thing, it would be education.

“The simple truth is that wingsuit BASE jumpers don’t know what they are getting into, don’t know how to practice the sport safely, and don’t even know enough to know how little they know.” – Skynews

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