Base jumper ‘knew the risks’

Dean Potter knew the risks every time he flew off a cliff in a wingsuit.

The extreme athlete lost a friend to a base jumping accident last year. At his friend’s memorial service he spoke about the death-defying nature of the sport.

“He always recognised how dangerous the sport was and at the same time how magical it was — the tension between those two things,” said fellow climber Chris McNamara.

Potter, renowned for his daring and sometimes rogue climbs and base jumps, was one of two men killed after jumping from a 7,500ft promontory called Taft Point in Yosemite National Park.

Someone called for help late on Saturday after losing contact with Potter, 43, and his climbing partner, Graham Hunt, 29.

Park ranger Scott Gediman said a search-and-rescue team looked for the men overnight but couldn’t find them. On Sunday morning, a helicopter crew spotted their bodies in Yosemite Valley.

The men wore wingsuits — skin-tight suits with batwing sleeves and a flap between their legs — to help them glide. However, parachutes designed to slow their descent had not been deployed, Gediman said.

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