Mon, Aug 01, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Daredevil completes parachute-less leap from 7,620m


Skydiver Luke Aikins falls toward a net in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday after leaping from a plane at 7,620m without a parachute.

Photo: EPA

A daredevil skydiver on Saturday became the first to jump without a parachute, landing in a net in southern California, a spokesman said.

Luke Aikins, 42, who has 18,000 jumps under his belt, completed the jump from a height of 7,620m in Simi Valley just west of Los Angeles, landing in a net measuring 30m by 30m in a feat broadcast on Fox.

“Aikins’ leap represents the culmination of a 26-year career that will set a personal and world record for the highest jump without a parachute or wing suit,” his spokesman Justin Aclin said in an e-mail.

The Fox broadcast showed Aikins, who was wearing an oxygen mask because of the altitude, jump out of a propeller plane in a bright-green outfit along with three parachutists.

He later handed the mask to one of the other jumpers in mid-air. Then, the three accompanying skydivers opened their chutes and seemed to rise up away from Aikins, as he fell alone.

Lights were set along the side of the net to serve as a guide for Aikins to aim himself as he hurtled toward it. When he was on target, the lights shone white.

After a freefall lasting about two minutes, Aikins at the last second flipped onto his back and hit the net, which Aclin said was suspended 61m above ground with a secondary net below it.

Aikins previously said the net system would subject him to a g-force of no more than 5g and break his fall for about one-and-a-half seconds.

After he was lowered from the net, Aikins hugged his wife, Monica.

“I’m almost levitating, it’s incredible,” Aikins told an interviewer at the end of the Fox broadcast.

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