Tag Archives: wing-suit

How dangerous is BASE jumping?

If you’re an adrenaline “junkie”, you’re always looking for new adventures to get that rush. Maybe you started out as a runner, and did a fair number of races, but then it just became boring after a while. Or maybe you like to go skiing during the winter, and then you adapted to it and that became boring too.

One of the ultimate “highs” is to jump from an airplane. I haven’t done it yet, but I hear its an amazing feeling.

Arguably even more extreme than sky diving is BASE jumping, which involves jumping off of tall buildings, antennas, spans, and earth. If the BASE jumper starts from a high enough altitude, they may even use a wing-suit to fly their way down toward earth before parachuting. Some sky-divers do this too.

As incredibly fun as these activities are, how dangerous are they?

According to Stavanger University Hospital, Norway, in How dangerous is BASE jumping?

RESULTS:

During an 11-year period, a total of 20,850 jumps (median, 1,959; range, 400-3,000) resulted in 9 fatal (0.04% of all jumps; 1 in every 2,317 jumps) and 82 nonfatal accidents (0.4% of all jumps; 1 in every 254 jumps). Accidents increased with the number of jumps (r=0.66; p=0.007), but fatalities did not increase, nor did activation of helicopter or climbers in rescue (p>0.05). Helicopter activation (in one-third of accidents) in rescue correlated with number of accidents (r=0.76, p=0.007), but not climbers. Postmortem examination (n=7) of fatalities revealed multiple, severe injuries (Abbreviated Injury Scale score>or=3) sustained in several body regions (median, Injury Severity Score 75; range, 23-75). Most nonfatal accidents were related to ankle sprains/fracture, minor head concussion, or a bruised knee.

CONCLUSION:

BASE jumping appears to hold a five- to eightfold increased risk of injury or death compared with that of skydiving. The number of accidents and helicopter activation increases with the annual number of jumps. Further analysis into the injury severity spectrum and associated hospital burden is required.

This seems extremely dangerous. Far more dangerous than anything I do. I wonder to what degree does the death-defying aspect make this “fun”. If somehow the danger was removed from BASE jumping would it make the sport less fun for some people?

If anyone reading this has tried BASE jumping or sky-diving, please tell us about your experiences.