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BASE jumping takes flight in Shanghai
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-06 08:28

SHANGHAI: When Ding Jianping jumped from the top of the Jinmao Tower, 345 metres in the air, yesterday, China's first BASE jumper was born.

During the 2004 international BASE (Building, Antennae, Span and Earth) jump show held from the top of Jinmao Tower yesterday, six Chinese jumpers joined another 31 from 15 countries to complete the risky feat to loud applause from thousands of onlookers.

Two skydivers fly in the sky during a performance October 5, 2004 at the 2004 international BASE jump show to show off their skills and aerial techniques. The skydivers leap from the top of Jinmao Tower, 345 metres in the sky. BASE refers to building, antennae, span and earth. [newsphoto]

But the bad news was that an Australian jumper was injured during his trial jump early yesterday morning and did not attend the show.

A witness said the jumper flew onto a building attached to the tower instead of the normal landing spot on the grassland.

"I saw the jumper open the parachute. He flew down at a rather fast speed. But suddenly he revolved and landed on the building," said Xu Haifeng, a photographer who witnessed the accident.

The jumper was immediately sent to the nearby Shanghai East Hospital. Sources with the hospital and the organizer declined to give any details.

The show started at 2 pm with Chinese sportsman Ding making the first leap with a national flag.

"Today's wind is a little stronger which added a little difficulty," said Ding afterwards.

The six Chinese jumpers were selected from more than a hundred participants.

"We selected them because they are very good skydivers with rich experience. From my point of view, BASE jumping is a very risky sport," said Zhang Hesheng, director of parachute department of Aero Sports Federation of China.

"Compared with sky diving with much more height, jumpers can see more reference points such as buildings and walkers during the BASE jumping which would give one the feeling of falling even faster," Zhang added.

The six Chinese jumpers had the least experience of the 37 jumpers.

Most foreign jumpers have done hundreds or even more than 1,000 BASE jumps. But the six Chinese only started BASE jumping last May.

"As to the about 300-metre-high jump, we tried only about 15 or 16 times during the training," said Hu Weizhong, a woman jumper.

All the training jumps were done from a hot air balloon because they could not find a suitable building.

"The show was our second BASE jump from a real building," Hu said.

"But I didn't feel nervous," said the pretty woman who has done more than 5,000 skydives.

Jumping from the tower, jumpers first have a 5 second free fall to create enough room for the parachute to open. By then they have fallen about 100 metres.

"During the process, we watch the reference to control the direction, count seconds and adjust the body," Hu said. "And the feeling is exhilarating!"

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