Doctor David Stather, from Calgary, Canada died during a wingsuit proximity flight from a remote exit point in Northern Arizona on Friday 23rd January 2014.
The last time I saw Dave alive he was relaxed and smiling, sat in the sun on the exit point. His intention was to gear up and jump after watching our flight. From the landing area it is possible to see the exit point and most of the flight line. As we stashed our gear we repeatedly looked back up the wall expecting to see Dave standing on the edge in his red Aura and watch his exit. Somehow we missed it, 45 minutes later I was still waiting, somehow hoping that he had changed his mind and walked back to the cars. Not knowing what had happened but hoping he had not jumped we hiked the 3 hours back out. On Arrival back at the car it was obvious Dave was not there. It took us 30 minutes of studying the talus from above to locate what we believed was Daves red wingsuit.
He was in an inaccessible location 1500ft below the exit. We called 911 and requested search and rescue assistance.
Due to a lack of remaining daylight a rescue helicopter was not able to reach the area until early the following morning. When the aircraft arrived, it quickly located Daves body and confirmed he had died from massive injuries resulting from impacting rocks at high speed. Death is believed to have been instantaneous.
The pilot chute was out of the BOC but the pins and the container were still closed. The position of his body on the talus was consistent with him impacting the terrain about 15 20 seconds after exit, while in low level proximity flight. This was Daves third flight in the last three days, down the line he was flying. As always he started conservatively and got progressively lower. There had been a lot of discussion about the lines we were flying, the outs and the visual illusions created by the different sized rocks. The angle of the terrain is such that at almost any point on the line he was flying it should have been possible for him to gain altitude for a safe deployment.
Sitting around our camp fire the night before Daves death he could not have been happier. He talked about his life, his work and the days jumping with equal enthusiasm. It is my belief that he loved where he was in life.
Daves death will be a loss to everyone who knew him and everyone who now wont get the chance to meet him.
Fly free Dave, forever free .
Can you help us with incident interpretation? We are interested in any details regarding personal experience, gear, weather conditions and any other circumstances related to the incident.