Base jumper was very careful

2010-04-14 08:19

 Stellenbosch - Geoffrey Robson, 31, who died after a base jump went horribly wrong, was on Tuesday described as adventurous, but yet also very careful.

"He was enthusiastic about life," Professor Ben Herbst, of the department of mathematical sciences at the University of Stellenbosch (US), said of one of his former students.

Robson died on Monday morning after performing a base jump in the Banhoek mountains near Pniël.

Apparently he miscalculated the jump and "flew into" the mountain.

Robson, an experienced skydiver, started taking part in this adrenaline sport after 2003 when he was overseas, said Herbst.

Before his death he had been working towards his doctorate in the aerodynamics of flight suits at a technical university in Zürich, Switzerland.

Base jumpers wear special flight suits which transform the body into a "wing" from hands to feet. A parachute pack is worn on the back.

According to Herbst, Robson was a Master's degree student in applied science at US between 2001 and 2003, during which time Herbst was Robson's supervisor. Robson was also an undergraduate student in mechanical engineering and lived in Stellenbosch then.

"Geoffrey was one of the best students we've ever had. He was an excellent student. He was an adrenaline junkie, enthusiastic and talented. He liked to investigate and do new things. I think he went to Switzerland in particular because of the mountains there. His heart and soul was in base jumping."

Robson came to see Herbst at the engineering building in Banhoek Road last Tuesday.

"He was very excited and wanted to show me a video he took of one of his jumps. It was a base jump at more or less the same place he jumped from on Monday."

Despite his adventurous nature, Robson was fully aware of the high level of risk involved in the sport.

"He was an intelligent person and not at all arrogant about safety. He was very careful and he took the sport seriously," added Herbst.