Squamish BASE jumper dead after parachute reportedly malfunctions

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A BASE jumper has died in a plunge from a popular British Columbia mountain, after his parachute apparently failed to open until it was too late, Mounties say.

The man — who has not been identified — jumped from the first peak of the Stawamus Chief Mountain, a busy spot for outdoors enthusiasts near Squamish, north of Vancouver, just before 10 a.m. on Sunday.

A June 4 tweet from BASE Jumping HQ shows the view from the top.

Witnesses told police the person’s parachute did not open until significantly after the jump, and the person fell near the Sea-to-Sky Highway below, said Squamish RCMP.

Sgt. Jolaine Percival said no further information about the victim will be released while family members are being notified.

She said she believes the BASE jumper was with a group, and the community of people who enjoy the activity is a tight-knit one.

Ski-base jumper Pryce Brown

The view from the top of the Stawamus Chief. (Pryce Brown/Vimeo)

“It’s an adventurous kind of district that we live in, and people from all around the world flock to partake in activities like this,” she said.

“Now, it’s just ensuring that we deal with the family and get all the BASE jumper’s belongings back to the family.”

The B.C. Coroner’s Service has been called to the scene and confirms the victim is a male.

‘It’s very sad’

Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman said she was shocked and saddened by the death.

“Your thoughts immediately go to, ‘Was it a person in the community? Did you know them?’ We’re a pretty small, tight-knit community here,” she said. “You think about this person and their family, and it’s very sad.”

Heintzman said she believes BASE jumping is legal in the provincial park that includes the Stawamus Chief, and it would be difficult for her district to regulate the activity.

Squamish mayor Patricia Heintzman BASE jumper death

Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman said she was shocked and saddened by the death but says it would be hard for the municipality to regulate the sport on the Stawamus Chief. (Don Marce/CBC)

“People who do these extreme sports know the risks they’re taking, have prepared tremendously to do them, and you just have to hope they’re doing things within their skill set.”

“I don’t think you can prevent people from trying to push the limits.”

BASE jumping is when people jump from a fixed structure or cliff using a parachute or wingsuit. It’s considered more dangerous than skydiving due to the relatively low altitude of the jumps.

540 metres above Highway 99

The first peak of the Stawamus Chief towers about 540 metres above the highway.

The granite cliff draws scores of hikers and climbers daily, and has become a draw for extreme sports fans as well.

A 40-year-old Squamish man died after plunging from the mountain last July while speed flying, a sport similar to paragliding.

with files from Yvette Brend.

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Squamish BASE jumper dead after parachute reportedly malfunctions

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