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BASE Jumping: Articles: Stories: Base Jump Number Five

Base Jump Number Five

by Michael Schwery
  • Date: March 2005
  • Object: Span in Mexico
  • Height: 130 meter / 425 feet

It was a perfect day. The weather was nice, not one cloud in the sky and no wind. We where all very motivated. I was on my way to a skydiving boogie on a beautiful beach in Mexico. With me was my wife, her sister and her cousin who came al the way from Switzerland to visit us, my friends Gabo, Dragon and DX. DX’s wife was also there.

There is this perfect bridge on the way to the boogie. The plan was that I jump the bridge with my 3 friends and then drive for another 8 hours to the skydiving boogie. My friends would return to Mexico City in the evening.

So we geared up about 5 km in front of the bridge on a resting place. The bridge is a highway bridge so the plan was to stop on the bridge, jump out of the car and jump as fast as we can and exit.

We, the 4 jumpers, where in the 1st car and a second car was supposed to drive 1 km behind us and advice us by radio if there where any cops. The driver of our car was the wife of DX, the driver of the second car was my wife. Once we got to the bridge we jumped out of the car as planed and Dragon was the first to jump.

He did a nice stowed 2 second delay and his canopy opened great. I jumped second, also stowed with a 1 second delay. I landed next to Dragon and looked up to see what Gabo and DX are going to do. The plan was that Gabo is going to do a TARD and DX was going to film it by doing a sideway sideway floater exit

Gabo gave the exit count and jumped. That was when things started going wrong. Gabo had a 90 degree offheading opening toward DX and at the same time DX missed his exit and jumped maybe half of a second late. With the distance they had that was enough for DX to jump on Gabos canopy.

What we saw from below was a very fast opening from Gabo, DX falling into Gabos canopy, complete entanglement of the two and DX falling out of the canopy after maybe 2 seconds. He was on his back and already very low. He lost another second; I think because of total disorientation and pitched on his back. The moment he pitched I thought shit, his canopy is never going to open in time.

He hit the sandy ground with a partial inflated canopy about 15 meters from me and Dragon. Gabo broke some lines and damaged his canopy and spiraled down. He impacted a few seconds after DX. But he stood up right after impact, told us he was fine and came also over to DX.

DX did not move first but started snoring after about 20 seconds. Blood came out from under his helmet but he lived!

We knew we had to get help but on this spot there is no Cellular coverage. So I ran up the hill. Have way up I meat the wife of DX who was driving down to us and had no idea what happened. I had to tell her that I need the car and that she has to walk down because I needed to get help. She knew instantly that it was her husband that got hurt.

I took the car and had to drive about 20 km to the next highway stop. Fortunately they had an ambulance there. We drove back to the bridge. That is when I realized that the ambulance was not doing more that about 60 km/h!

We helped to load DX into the ambulance and drove to the next hospital. We arrived there about 3 hours after the accident had happened. But this was the most primitive hospital that I have seen in my live and I was once in a hospital in India.

We had to help because they did not have enough personnel. DX was very active. He tried to stand up several times, and we had to tie him to the bed. But they managed to stabilize DX more or less and get him ready to transport him back to Mexico City. He was in a modern hospital more or less 14 hours after the accident.

DX was in a coma for 1n week. He had internal bleedings, broke is pelvis in 2 parts with several other fractures on his pelvis and broke his femur in 3 places. He was not able to get out of his bed for more than 3 month.

He is now walking again (6 moth after the accident) with a walking stick. He is a very strong guy and it’s only a question of time until he will walk again without any help. Dragon, Gabo and I jumped the bridge again about a month and a half after the accident. This was the first jump for all of us. We did not talk anything the last hour before our jump. It was a very emotionally jump for me and for my friends. I think I was never in my live that scared. But this jump helped all of us. We landed with happy faces and did another 3 jumps that day.

What I learned from this jump is that you always need a very good emergency plan, that you should not get hurt on this bridge, that it needs very little to get seriously injured or killed in BASE and that I will never again ask my wife to accompany me on a jump!

A video of this jump and the aftermatch can be found Skydiving Movies.


Submitted by Michael Schwery on 2007-06-18 | Last Modified on 2007-07-03

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