EXPIRED: 11/13/09 – Ueli Gegenschatz , 38, was quoted last spring saying that he wanted “to come as close as possible to the human dream of being able to fly.”
I’m sure he didn’t dream this nightmare.
Gegenschatz was best known for his expert paragliding, skydiving and BASE jumping — and his utterly jawdropping flight in a wingsuit, a high-tech flying-squirrel-inspired getup that let him soar feet from the surface of the ground and incredible speeds.
His addiction to speed is inspiring, if not a little bit nutty, but his preparation for each jump was very serious. Before his website went down it listed his professions as “aerialist / insurance and precaution advisor.”
A member of the Swiss national paragliding team for four years, Gegenschatz co-founded the Red Bull acrobatic team in 1995. His BASE jumping stunts are the stuff of YouTube legend: the Eiffel Tower; Petronas Towers; the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau peaks all in one day … and for 2009 he planned several world-premiere aerial stunts that would take his “humans were meant to fly” thing one step closer to reality.
Except it failed.
While jumping from the Sunrise Tower in Zurich, Switzerland, a gust of wind hit him and he lost control, hitting the ground with incredible force and was seriously injured. Taken to the hospital in critical condition, he died 2 days later.