A stuntman has become the first person to jump out of a helicopter and land without using a parachute.
Gary Connery, 42, used a special “wingsuit” to make the death-defying leap 731m above the fields of Oxfordshire, the first time anybody has successfully jumped from such a height without deploying a parachute.
The adrenaline junkie, who has performed stunts in Hollywood films including Indiana Jones, Batman Begins, and The Beach, helped develop the suit, which enables him to glide through the air.
After jumping out of the helicopter, Connery accelerating to speeds of around 129km/h as his wingsuit came in to play.
The short flight ended with him landing on a specially made “runway” of 18,600 boxes.
Before carrying out the flight in countryside near his home in Henley-on-Thames, Connery said he was “100% confident” he would be successful.
Connery, who had to wear a parachute for the jump due to safety rules, was celebrating with champagne minutes later.
He landed to cheers from thousands of people and was met by his wife Vivienne.
He said: “I feel incredible, just completely elated.
“I have been training and planning for this record attempt for many years now and I am so proud to have achieved a world first.
“I want to thank everyone involved for their support and belief in me because this really has been a team effort.
“Tonight will be all about celebrating with friends and family, tomorrow I will be plotting my next daring challenge.”
Connery, who has carried out BASE jumps from landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Nelson’s Column, and the London Eye, has concentrated on wingsuit jumps since discovering them eight years ago.
He has carried out more than 880 skydives and 450 BASE jumps since becoming a paratrooper when he was in his 20s.
“I am in a strange zone at the moment. It is an amazing feeling.
“I feel incredible, just completely elated.
“I am so choked with the turnout. It was so comfortable and so soft. I got my calculations absolutely right. There was some turbulence.”
His wife, 45, added: “I am just so relieved it is all over.”
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