Two Killed in BASE Jumping Accident at Yosemite National Park
Two people were killed in a wingsuit flight accident at California's Yosemite National Park over the weekend, according to a park spokesman via the Associated Press.
Park ranger Scott Gediman told the AP that renowned extreme athlete Dean Potter and his climbing partner, Graham Hunt, were found dead after jumping from a 7,500-foot promontory above Yosemite Valley known as Taft Point.
Gediman said that a search-and-rescue team was sent out to look for the missing men late Saturday and into Sunday but was unsuccessful. The two bodies ended up being spotted in the valley on Sunday by a helicopter crew.
"This is a horrible incident, and our deepest sympathies go out to their friends and family," said Gediman via the AP. "This is a huge loss for all of us."
BASE jumping is illegal at Yosemite and the rest of U.S. national parks. But while park officials have made efforts to prevent it, many still find ways to break the rules.
In this case, though, neither of the men's parachutes had been deployed, indicating they struck something.
According to John Branch of the New York Times, Potter and Hunt attempted to "clear a notch in the granite cliffs but instead smashed into the rocks in quick succession."
"Dean truly loved Yosemite," said his longtime girlfriend Jenn Rapp via Branch. "His heart, spirit and passions soared in the valley; it was his home. The beauty of Yosemite inspired him to be the best possible artist, partner, father and friend."
"This is exactly where he'd want his rule-breaking, fringe-pushing, counterculture spirit to live forever," concluded Rapp.
More by Patrick Clarke
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