Belfast Telegraph

Shipyard base jumper who parachuted 350ft off crane faces police probe

By Rebecca Black

A man who completed a death-defying base jump off one of Belfast's most famous landmarks is being investigated.

The former shipyard worker leapt off the 109-metre (348 feet) Samson crane at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.

He is believed to have freefallen for a short time after jumping before opening his parachute and landing safely on the ground.

The daredevil, who is from England, was apprehended by security on the Harland & Wolff site. He is not believed to have had a camera and it is not known if any other people were involved in filming the stunt.

It is understood that he had access to the site through his work as a contractor, but the New Year's Eve base jumper broke a lock to gain access to the huge crane and used the staircase to get to the top.

A spokesman for Harland & Wolff told the Belfast Telegraph that the worker's employment had now been terminated.

"Harland & Wolff can confirm that an unauthorised incident took place on January 1, 2014 involving a contractor employed by our client," he said.

"The client has informed us they have dismissed the individual.

"As the matter is currently under investigation by H&W and our client, it would be inappropriate to comment further."

A spokeswoman for the Harbour Police confirmed officers had attended the scene, but said no arrests had been made.

The PSNI said it had been made aware of what happened.

Samson is the larger of the two giant yellow cranes which dominate the Belfast skyline.

It is 109 metres compared to Goliath, which is 96 metres (315 feet). The cranes were built in 1976 and 1969 respectively.

In 2003 the cranes were listed as historic monuments.

Base jumping – standing for the four categories of fixed objects that can be jumped from, building, antenna, span and earth – has been an extreme sport since 1978, where participants jump from heights, freefalling for seconds before using a parachute to break their fall.

Belgian man Cedric Dumont previously completely a base jump from the Samson crane during 2006 which, he said, took him around three seconds to complete.

"I was seeing stars for a few seconds so I will remember this one," he said.

Harland & Wolff confirmed that permission had been granted for the 2006 stunt by Mr Dumont.

BACKGROUND

Base jumping is an extreme sport in which participants jump from great heights and experience a terrifying freefall before opening a parachute. In 2006 Belgian daredevil Cedric Dumont jumped from the Samson crane. Base stands for the four types of heights – buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and earth (such as cliffs). Jumps have taken place from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Great Trango Towers in Pakistan, Angel Falls in Venezuela and Mount Everest.

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