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The BBC's Jessica Williams
"Any mistake would have proved fatal"
 real 28k

Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 15:09 GMT
Daredevil jumps from Jesus
Quick way down: Ready ...



It was like a scene from a James Bond film.


The aura of the statue added an exceptional spiritual dimension
Felix Baumgartner
The parachutist hid overnight in the security area at the base of Rio's famed Christ statue.

Then, just before dawn, he fired a cable from a crossbow over the right arm of the 30-metre statue and climbed up to the outstretched hand.

Steady ...
Before jumping, the daredevil left flowers on the giant's shoulder as a mark of respect.

Then, in freefall, he opened his parachute and steered over shantytowns to a car park where a getaway car was waiting.

"As I was standing on the hand ... looking into the rising sun I realised that I would never feel anything like this in my life again," said Austrian Felix Baumgartner after the leap.

Go!
Mr Baumgartner has performed similar "base" jumps from high buildings around the world. The sport involves parachuting off fixed structures - often illegally.

He trained on a crane for weeks at his Salzburg home before travelling to Brazil.

"It was the first time (for the Christ statue) and I think it's the last time. It's the lowest base jump in the world," said jump organiser Stefan Aufschnaiter.

"Normally you need 50 or 60 metres. It's extremely dangerous," he said.

Base jumping facts
Acronym for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth
Involves parachuting off fixed structures or landmarks
Parachute only opened at last moment
Illegal in most countries
He described Mr Baumgartner as "craziest" base jumper in the world"

A former mechanic and motocross driver, Mr Baumgartner took his jumping equipment through Brazilian customs by saying he was an archer travelling to a sports tournament.

In April, he jumped from the 452-metre Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the tallest building in the world.

And in July he was sponsored to leap from the 137-metre Pirelli skyscraper in the centre of Milan.

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22 Nov 99 |  UK
Base: The final frontier

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