Skydiver daredevil 'born to fly'

2012-10-15 10:35
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Space jump best pictures

Take a look at these iconic pictures of skydiver Felix Baumgartner becoming the first man to break the sound barrier without mechanical help.

Los Angeles - "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who stunned fans around the world by breaking the sound barrier in a hair-raising dive from the fringe of space, was "born to fly".

That's according to a tattoo the 43-year-old sports, a motto that took on a whole new meaning after his nail-biting feat, the fastest freefall ever by leaping from a capsule more than 39km above the Earth and reaching a top speed of 1 342km/h.

The dramatic jump - which could have ended in disaster by causing his blood to boil - propelled the extreme adventure-seeker into the record books.

It also made a childhood dream come true.

"I always had the desire to be in the air," Austria's Kurier newspaper quoted Baumgartner as saying. "I climbed trees, I wanted to see the world from above."

Austrian military

He certainly did that on Sunday - and then some.

Baumgartner, who was born in the Austrian city of Salzburg on 20 April 1969, has come a long way from his younger years working as a car mechanic as he searched for ways to soar from the sky.

He took his first skydive at the age of 16, and improved his skills after joining the Austrian military.

Over time, the athlete - who says "the air is where I am at home" - built up an impressive portfolio of stunts.

One of his first records was in 1999 for the lowest Base jump ever from the hand of Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, which is 29m above the ground.

Base is an acronym for the four things that are jumped from: Buildings, antennas, spans and earth.

As a licensed gas balloon and helicopter pilot, he twice also set world records for the highest Base jump from a building.

The first was from the 450m Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1999, and five years later from the even taller Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan.

Dangers

In 2003, he completed the first winged "freefall crossing" of the English Channel, leaping out of an aircraft and flying the rest of the way to Calais in northern France with a pair of carbon wings.

Other feats include parachuting into a 190m deep cave in Croatia, leaping off the highest bridge in the world, the 340m Millau Viaduct in France.

He had been training for the Red Bull Stratos jump from far above the Earth for seven years, and previously leaped from 21 800m and 29 600m.

According to his mother Eva, Baumgartner's latest achievement was "his biggest dream".

"I'm very happy he gets to do this because he's worked toward it all these years," she told Kurier ahead of the event, which was twice delayed due to weather. "Now it's really his big day."

Despite the dangers, the telegenic Baumgartner never seemed to fear having to pay the ultimate price for his passion - stressing it was all about doing your homework.

"I hate it if someone calls me a thrill-seeker or an adrenaline junkie because I am not. I like the whole planning," Baumgartner said ahead of the stunt.

Safe

But there was no denying he was glad to be back on the ground safe and sound.

"When you're standing there on top of the world, you become so humble... The only thing is you want to come back alive," he told reporters.

Shortly before leaping, in footage beamed live around the world on a crackly radio link recalling Neil Armstrong's first words on the Moon, Baumgartner had said: "Sometimes you have [to go] up really high to [understand] how small you are."

It remains to be seen what Baumgartner, who divides his time between Switzerland and the US, will do next.

If his website is to be believed, there could be much more to come: "Everyone has limits - not everyone accepts them!!!" it says.

- SAPA

Read more on:    red bull  |  felix baumgartner  |  space
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.