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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 21:22 GMT
Parachute for high-rise worriers
New York's skyline after the 11 September attacks
The parachute is on sale in the wake of terror attacks
People who work or live in high-rise buildings and are worried about their safety after the 11 September terrorist attacks in New York have been offered a lifeline by an Israeli company.

Apco Aviation has developed a parachute especially designed to work when people jump from high-rise buildings.

The company's manager, Anatoly Cohn, said no previous experience was needed to operate the parachute in an emergency. It has an automatic release that activates as the person jumps.

The special parachute can only be used from a height of at least 30 metres, about as high as a building's 10th storey.

It has a military-style round canopy, not an aerobatic rectangular design, weighs 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds), and covers an area of 30 square metres (323 feet) when opened, Mr Cohn said.

'Better a twisted ankle'

He said an American client, Destiny Aircraft Corp., had commissioned the parachute, which is now being marketed in the United States by Executivechute Corp.

Executivechute's president, John Rivers, said a request by an insurance company had triggered an investigation into the parachute's feasibility even before 11 September, but the company had decided not to market the product.

"After 11 September, we were urged by the insurance company to market the product and get it up and going," Mr Rivers told Israel Radio.

The backpack-type parachute, priced at $795, is also being marketed in Japan.

"It's unlikely the user will know how to do the standard 'paratroop roll' upon hitting the ground," Mr Cohn told the Reuters news agency.

"But we figure a twisted ankle is a small price to pay for life."

See also:

08 Nov 01 | Americas
Shopping against terror
21 Sep 01 | Business
What is the future for skyscrapers?
12 Sep 01 | Americas
Day of terror at a glance
11 Sep 01 | Americas
In pictures: Terror strikes America
08 Nov 01 | Europe
ETA 'plotted skyscraper massacre'
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