First responders in Alberta, Canada, made a daring rescue over the weekend after a BASE jumper slammed into a cliff face and was left dangling after his parachute got caught on a small bit of rock.
The BASE jumper, who was not identified, suffered “multiple traumatic injuries” in Sunday’s accident, according to a Facebook post by the Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section, Alberta Parks.
The man leaped off of the East End of Rundle (EEOR) in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Canmore, Alberta, but had a problem with his chute, or canopy, on the way down.
“When he deployed his canopy it was twisted and pushed him violently into the rock face,” the post said.
After the impact, the man “basically cartwheeled” down the cliff face until part of his canopy got snagged on a rock horn — saving him from falling all the way to the bottom of the 400-meter cliff, Jeremy Mackenzie, a public safety specialist with the group told CNN news partner CBC.
“Essentially, he was stranded about halfway down the face [of the mountain],” he told CBC.
BASE jumping is an extreme sport which involves parachuting from a fixed object instead of an airplane. The name is an acronym for buildings, antennae, spans (bridges), and earth.
A friend of the BASE jumper was able to call for help.
“We kind of knew the basics of the situation and the location, and so immediately, we just started deploying our team,” Mackenzie told CBC. “Within half an hour, we were in the air.”
Rescuers approached the man in a helicopter and planned to lift him to safety, but had to abort the plan because wind from its rotors was blowing the canopy around and they feared it might knock him loose from his precarious position.
They decided to conduct a high angle rope rescue instead, which required a team to climb down the mountain, secure the patient and then move him to a ledge, so they could get him into the helicopter more safely, the post said.
The operation was delayed when someone in a paraglider took off and flew right into their work zone, forcing them to suspend flight operations until the skies were clear.
“If you see helicopter traffic DO NOT fly a drone, paraglider, wing suit, etc. as you could be affecting a critical rescue operation,” the rescue group warned.
The man was then taken to the hospital.
Mackenzie told CBC the patient suffered fractures in his arms and legs, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
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