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Skydivers attempt Everest record

23 September 09 16:44 GMT

Three skydivers have completed what they hope is a record breaking jump next to Mount Everest, landing at the world's highest drop zone.

The parachutists - two Britons and an Indian - jumped from an altitude of 6,154m to land at the sandy plateau of Gorak Shep, 5,165m above sea level.

The skydivers said they faced high winds and freezing temperatures during the three-minute jump.

But they said that it was thrilling to pass so close to Mount Everest.

'Fantastic mountains'

The BBC's Joanna Jolly in Kathmandu says skydiving trips next to Everest have been operating for the past year, but this was the first jump to land above 5,000m.

One of the men who took part, British filmmaker Leo Dickinson, said he believed Gorak Shep was the highest landing zone in the world. He hopes to register the feat with Guinness World Records when he returns home.

A spokeswoman for Guinness World Records said that they were aware of the record breaking attempt, but the jump has not yet been officially recognised as a record.

Mr Dickinson said that he saw "a panorama of fantastic mountains" after he jumped, in addition to getting a glimpse of Mount Everest before opening his parachute.

The divers were in free fall for about five seconds before deploying their parachutes and gliding down to the landing zone. All three are experienced skydivers.

The Nepalese government recently allowed skydiving in the Everest region because it adds to the list of activities that the country has to offer tourists in advance of Visit Nepal Year in 2011.

Tourism is one of the Nepal's biggest money earners with tens thousands of foreigners coming every year to trek in the Himalayas.

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