BFL84 | 21.8.2004

Duane Thomas

from New Zealand

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Unknown

BASE SEASONS

Unknown

SKYDIVES

Unknown

WS SKYDIVES

Unknown

BASE JUMPS

Unknown

WS BASE JUMPS
  • Date & Time: 21.8.2004
  • Location: La Mousse, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
  • Category: BASE Fatality
  • Object Type: Earth
  • Cause Of Death: Low pull
  • Clothing - Suit: Unknown - Unspecified WSUnknown Wingsuit by Unspecified
  • Canopy: Unknown
  • Container: Unknown
  • Packing & Setup: Slider Up Leg Pouch Vertical
  • Weather: Sunny, Winds light and variable
  • Possible Factors: Extracted Pilot Chute to late

What do we believe happened?

Duane, a Kiwi with a quick smile, is a well known and experienced BASE jumper. The following is from an eye witness. The jump is witnessed by two British jumpers and two Swiss jumpers. One Brit watching, and videoing, from the exit point, the other three watching from the LZ. This is Duane's first wingsuit BASE jump, and his first jump ever with a leg mounted pilot chute pouch. Prior to this jump Duane prepared by making 50 aircraft and 2 hot air balloon wingsuit skydives. Duane had a good exit and a good flight. Everybody saw him reach for and locate the pilot chute at what the witnesses said is a reasonable altitude. He then kept his hand there and continued in freefall. The speculation is the lack of normal groundrush (like the type he is used to when not wearing a wingsuit) might have fooled him. The Swiss are yelling at him to pull and he finally did so, at what they said is about 30-feet above the ground. The canopy lifted out of the pack tray but is no where near line stretch when he impacted in a full flight position. According to the Swiss there is no fumbling around, or looking for the pilot chute handle - all the witnesses agree on this. He reached and located the pilot chute, but just took to long to deploy it. A hard pull cannot be fully discounted at this time, but all the witnesses believe he just waited too long. This is the sixth BASE wingsuit fatality since the first one occurred in September of 2002

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