Two BASE jumpers in Idaho are lucky to be alive after getting entangled and falling nearly 500 feet from a bridge.
Austin Carey, 22, and James Rawe, 24, were getting ready for a jump Monday from the Perrine Bridge, which spans the Snake River Canyon in the southern part of the state. But Rawe got entangled in Carey’s parachute, police said, sending them plummeting to the ground below.
The men landed in a marshy area near the river’s shoreline, and rescue crews rushed to help. Carey was airlifted to the hospital, while Rawe was taken there by boat and ground. Rawe endured a five-hour back surgery, his father said.
Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Daron Brown said the bridge is a popular spot for thrill-seekers.
“There are thousands, literally thousands of people that come to this bridge every year from all over the world to BASE jump,” Brown said.
While BASE jumping -- which stands for the buildings, antennae, spans and earth from which participants jump -- is legal on the bridge, many BASE jumpers choose off-limits spots. Recently released video showed jumpers throwing themselves off One World Trade Center in New York last September. Nobody was hurt there, but at Utah’s Zion National Park, three base jumpers died in the last two months, with the third body recovered Tuesday.
In terms of the Perrine Bridge, there isn’t much room for error, Brown said.
“If the chute doesn’t open, [jumpers] are a little over four-and-a-half seconds from bridge to water,” he said.