BASE-jumper survives jump

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Kate CampbellSound Telegraph
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Rockingham mechanic Josh Richards says he is alive because of “pure luck” after a BASE-jump which claimed the life of his Mandurah friend went horribly wrong in Italy.

Mr Richards, 26, was on holiday in Europe when he went wingsuiting, an advanced form of BASE-jumping, in Trentino, a province in northern Italy, on August 28.

He jumped before Ben Dummett, 25, who it is believed slammed into the mountain and died.

Recovering in an Italian hospital, Mr Richards, who suffered a broken leg and seven fractured ribs, said he didn’t even have time to pull his parachute before he crashed through trees to the forest floor below. Reports have emerged that the wind dropped suddenly, catching the jumpers off-guard, but Mr Richards said “conditions were good” and he couldn’t recall a change in atmosphere.

“I didn’t pull my parachute, I hit with nothing out, I don’t know what saved me, I’m going to say pure luck. I ended up knocked out after hitting more trees and woke up on the ground covered in blood,” Mr Richards said.

Mr Richards, who has done more than 200 BASE-jumps, was planning to return to WA this week and said his friend’s death was a “heartbreak”.

“He was always the life of the party and just a good all-round bloke,” he said. “The world has lost a kind soul.”

Mr Dummett’s family have travelled to Italy, with his father Simon saying his son died doing what he loved most.

Australian BASE Association WA representative Ashley Walsh said Mr Dummett’s death was tragic.

A friend of both Perth jumpers and Australian BASE Association WA representative Ashley Walsh said Mr Dummett had probably jumped unaware that Mr Richards had encountered trouble during his flight.

Mr Walsh, who had jumped with Mr Dummett a couple of times previously, said his death was tragic and WA’s small, tight-knit BASE-jumping and skydiving communities were reeling.

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