The Base Jumper Who Accidentally Filmed His Own Death

You're five to eight times as likely to die in a BASE jumping incident than you are in a skydiving accident. The mortality rate averages one death out of every 2,317 jumps, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). The agency describes it as jumping off something really high — BASE stands for "building, antenna, span, earth" with a parachute, or in a wingsuit, allowing you to glide safely (you hope) to the ground. It's ranked just slightly below jumping out of a plane sans parachute on the unofficial list of "potentially deadly and exciting ways to fall really, really far." Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Maybe.

People do die from BASE jumping, and that goes for pros as well as amateurs. Uli Emanuele, from Italy, was a phenomenal BASE jumper and wingsuit pilot. Emanuele is best known for two things: soaring through a two-meter hole on the side of a mountain in his wingsuit and soaring into the side of a mountain in his wingsuit. Both of which he caught on his GoPro.

The GoPro captures all

Here's the thing about wingsuits. They can reach speeds in excess of 150 mph, according to WNY Skydiving, and provide virtually no collision protection for their pilots. It's dangerous (hence the high mortality rate), and GoPro recording devices give BASE jumpers an easy way to document that danger. People like Uri Emanuele capture these insane adventures and share them with the world. In Emanuele's case, it also made it easier for him to film his own death, when he crashed in the Dolomite Mountains of Switzerland, as The Independent reported. There was nothing crazy about his death. He lost control. He crashed.

The shock of Emanuele's death came mostly from his degree of talent and experience. According to The Independent, the daredevil was the Extreme BASE Jump World Championship Spain 2010 champion. He'd been filmed flying through a ring of fire for GoPro's YouTube. When he flew through a two-meter hole in a rock formation, a stunt that might have killed a lesser mortal, he did so four times to have the footage he needed for his video, according to National Geographic. But, even the best fall in such a dangerous sport.