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With 2nd fatality, BASE jumpers urged to pick another spot

September 24, 2021 GMT

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — U.S. Forest Service officials are asking BASE jumpers to find safer locations to engage in the extreme sport than a northern Nevada canyon where a second man wearing a wingsuit has died after jumping from the same spot in recent months.

The Elko County Sheriff’s Office said David W. Wessels, 38, of Las Vegas died Tuesday after jumping from a cliff at Lamoille Canyon and striking rocks at the bottom.

Another BASE jumper died June 12.

BASE jumping stands for building, antenna, span and earth — the four common objects from which BASE jumpers launch a descent using wingsuits or parachutes.

A Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest official said BASE jumping from cliffs or other locations isn’t prohibited on Forest Service lands but that the agency wants participants “to find safer and more suitable locations for this type of activity,”

“Two deaths at the same jump spot in less than four months are two too many,” District Ranger Josh Nicholes said.

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Rich Martinez, a Forest Service fire prevention technician and a former smokejumper, said Lamoille Canyon is becoming a popular wingsuit jumping location due to its rocky peaks but that unpredictable weather and short distances to maneuver makes it a difficult place to jump.

“I understand the thrill and adrenaline rush of the sport, but I cannot stress enough that wingsuit base jumpers need to be aware of their skill level, and double and triple check their equipment and environmental conditions to ensure a safe jump,” said Martinez.