Table Mountain base jumper won’t be charged

2012-01-19 14:06

Cape Town - Table Mountain National Park will not press charges against a base jumper who was severely injured in an illegal jump, SA National Parks said on Thursday.

"No, we're not going to lay charges, but he will be fined R1 500. The South African film company who was commissioned to document his flight will also be fined," said spokesperson Merle Collins.

"There is a very real possibility that we'll never give the company a permit to film in any of our national parks. All of these details will be decided upon after we check the facts."

American Jeb Corliss, 35, an internationally renowned base jumper, was injured when he jumped off the mountain near the cable car station on Monday.

He clipped a rock and tumbled 60 metres into Contour Path.

Base jumpers freefall until, just before landing, they open their parachutes.

Collins said Corliss was lucky his parachute opened before impact as this had softened his fall.
"We have people who fall 30m off the mountain and die," she said.

Corliss did not have a permit to jump as the park denied permission for all base jumpers.

The unidentified South African film company, commissioned by the United States television network HBO, did not have a permit to film on the property either.

"HBO apologised to us. They thought they had a permit to film there. They were under the impression all the permits were in order," Collins said.

She said Corliss's injuries were enough warning for anyone wanting to attempt a similar act.

"The man is an expert stuntman and if he can fall, then what about your lesser beings?" she asked.

  • procold2 - 2012-01-19 14:20

    for one of the worlds leading base jumpers i think embaressment of not completing the flight is punishment enough.

      John - 2012-01-19 14:41

      NO. That's like saying that if you drink and drive, and have an accident, you needn't pay for your damages. He was aware that he was refused permission, but chose to go ahead with his stunt regardless. Now he must face the consequences. His accident is inconsequential to his offence. He'll make enough out of the footage of his fall to more than pay the fine. His comment from his ICU bed was "I've never felt better". A bit of a gung-ho attitude if you ask me.

      Janice - 2012-01-19 14:54

      Hahaha procold, totally agreed...

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 14:55

      On principal I agree with what you are saying John, but you can't really compare this to drinking and driving. When you drink and drive, you have every chance of killing several other innocent people. At least here, he was only risking his own life. Secondly, I wish News24 could get their facts straight. Its infuriating to read articles about this accident all week, and News24 explaining what BASE jumping is, twice in one week, when clearly he is wearing a wingsuit. Its a Proximity Fly (Proxy Flying for short). It is not a freefall. I'd accept you calling it BASE all the time in error if you didn't go on to further explain what it was News24, TWICE!! (previous article even gave a breakdown of the anagram)

      richard.hipkin - 2012-01-19 15:31

      Actually he did finish, it was on his second attempt he failed..

      Jarryd - 2012-01-19 15:50

      "There is a very real possibility that we'll never give the company a permit to film in any of our national parks. All of these details will be decided upon after we check the facts." They just proved they will film without a permit, not issuing them one in the future is real silly 'threat'.

      Jay - 2012-01-19 18:46

      @Ianmichaelcalder, what about the helicopter pilots and rescue personnel that risked their lives to airlift him out? He did not only put his own life in danger. And having spent some time working in the film industry in Cape Town i can tell you that companies filming without the correct permits are the exact reason we have problems getting permits for some locations. All around I think it was a poor showing my Jeb, HBO (for not checking permits) and the SA production company for shooting without a permit.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 21:23

      Okay Jay, if we are really going to split hairs about what I'd really think would be as close to a victimless crime as is possible, then sure, with the crosswinds there being what they are, perhaps the pilots were at risk. But in context of what everyone is saying here, surely they too understood the risks of their jobs. They still get out of bed every morning and face those risks. I've said it all over this thread over and over - We don't fine hikers that get themselves into trouble and need to be airlifted out. In fact, when they survive their ordeals, they are often labelled heroes and role models. They too, should full well understand the risks associated, and they do. But they also unwittingly put the pilots lives at risk? What has happened to South African society that we can't just say, great job Emergency Services, Get well Jeb. Have we become so cynical that we have to complain about tax money wasted versus a human life?

  • Lucille - 2012-01-19 14:20

    am I the only one not understanding this? what about the cost of his rescue? The only warning being sent out is you can jump if you like just try and not get hurt? All you base jumpers out there has this put you off doing what you enjoy? surely you all knew these risks before you started?

      procold2 - 2012-01-19 14:37

      i am sure it was a private helicopter and ambulance 911 or er24 and i am sure they will make him pay up , the hospital will also get there cut .

      John - 2012-01-19 14:45

      I'm happy with anyone participating what ever extreme sport they choose. Just stick to the rules, don't place others lives at risk and be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.

      DiamondDirk - 2012-01-19 14:57

      Come now guys, don't be naive. He is not paying any of it. HBO or the anonymous film company will pay it all. He was scheduled for a shark dive the day thereafter. All of this was scheduled and paid for by the sponsors, who in this case is mainly HBO.

      procold2 - 2012-01-19 15:05

      fact remains all the expenses will be covered by them. no harm done except to himself

      Chris - 2012-01-19 15:46

      The cost of the rescue is for his own account ... lighten up

  • Jaco - 2012-01-19 14:24

    Why the hell not!? Let me ask this, what if someone else died because the only available ambulance was dispatched to this idiot? People need to start taking responsibility for their actions. These extreme sports guys are always the "rebels", but when they get in touble the rest of us nine-to-five people have to pick up the tab. At least make him pay the costs...

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 15:04

      Okay Jaco, but if we are going to hardline on this, then I want every hiker that ever so much as twisted an ankle in the Western Cape to drag themselves to hospital. Every mountain biker, runner, rugby player, soccer player, swimmer etc, should be personally responsible for their own emergency healthcare. Lets label them idiots too, because they understood the risks. People make mistakes, that is the great part about being human. Jeb having a 1000+ jumps, ought to understand the risks of what he does just as well as any person that plays any sport. He just misjudged the angle.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 16:08

      I just remembered, I'm getting thumbs down by Hikers/Bikers/Runners and swimmers, because they think I'm saying they shouldn't be afforded medical care, and don't understand sarcasm. Pity I'm actually one of them. Oh well, c'est la vie.

  • Dave - 2012-01-19 14:26

    Wow, a cool $187, can see the poor man breaking the piggy bank over this one

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-19 14:28

    Government attitudes rubbing of on corporate management?

  • David - 2012-01-19 14:35

    Give that man a (half) Darwin award. Myabe next time he will get the full award.

      Daniel - 2012-01-19 14:50

      give that man a bells

  • Bennie - 2012-01-19 14:39

    Hopefully he makes it next time!

      Deon - 2012-01-19 15:42

      It was his 2nd time, not too clever to try it again.

  • TheSlip - 2012-01-19 14:41

    Too much B-Wings as a child.

      Aynsley - 2012-01-19 15:13

      not enough redbull :)

  • Oscar - 2012-01-19 14:44

    of course he will not be charged. We, the tax payers will have to pay for the rescue.

      richard.hipkin - 2012-01-19 15:33

      Actually no, he is footing the bill...

      Chris - 2012-01-19 15:48

      Oscar, don't be a chop .... he pays for his rescue - your tax rands are safely in the hands of our corrupt leaders

  • Nyiko Ngobeni - 2012-01-19 14:59

    In Mzansi u can break any law and be treated with kid gloves. This whole fiasco isn't worth media attention then. What is the deterrent in a 1500 fine to a tourist?

      Juan - 2012-01-19 15:10

      Well we should be tourist friendly as well, they are very important to us.

      nasheenar - 2012-01-19 15:18

      Dylan I agree with you, rather his rescue than two planes for presidents trip to US. Just out of curiosity though, why does one need permission to jump off Table Mountain? The Mountain doesnt belong to anyone. You dont need a permit to climb up it. Its been here for hundreds of years, who makes these rules that you need permits to go to places they never built or swim in beaches that was never created by man? Most importantly where does the money go??????

      Heinrich - 2012-01-19 15:52

      nasheenar: Sometimes I feel very lonely thinking like you do. You make me feel at home. Perhaps the media should visit Jeb and report on his progress. A little gift from Patricia or Helen will also show Cape Town's goodwill towards this great man. Now why don't some of our politicians who like flying all over the world try a little flight off Table Mountain? I am sure the DA will grant many ANC cadres the necessary permits.

  • Dylan - 2012-01-19 15:08

    I can think of much less important things tax money gets used for. At least this is saving a life. I'm proud to say my tax R got used towards his rescue!

  • Patrick - 2012-01-19 15:16

    I guess that the most daring thing the anti's have done is switch channels whilst their wife is watching TV. This jump was for the world stage and will generate far more revenue in tourism for Cape Town than Ms Collins could begin to calculate. I believe that National Parks will ban walking up the mountain next, less someone twists an ankle that requires emergency assistance.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 15:27

      For sure, because SANP's "OWNS" that land, and will make all the rules around it as they please. Not us, the citizens, but SAN Parks. I especially enjoyed the thinly veiled insult at the end : "then what about your lesser beings". Shut up Collins.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 15:56

      Andrew - I quite like swimming, and let me tell you, if I start drowning somewhere, your tax money might be used to save me. And your tax money is currently paying for just about every citizen that also likes swimming, albeit probably not quite so well, to be provisioned with life guards, the NSRI and other emergency facilities should they make the mistake of "doing it wrong". I know what you are getting at, but I think people are saying we shouldn't have rescued him because he knew the risks and its a risky stunt. He has a 1/10 years accident rate. Two people drowned in the WC this weekend?

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 19:00

      No, Andrew, He certainly isnt - But then again, is 70% of South Africa a taxpayer? 98% of the people that drown on New Years day certainly arent?

  • Keenan - 2012-01-19 15:27


      Sam - 2012-01-19 15:32

      Don't be so hard on yourself, Keenan.

  • wayne.mongie - 2012-01-19 15:33

    Wow! R1500 fine. That'll teach him.

  • Chris - 2012-01-19 15:55

    The publicity generated from Jeb's wingsuit flights off our beautiful mountain is invaluable .... the story on HBO showing off the spectacular Cape will be an advertisement for Cape Town and South Africa we couldn't afford to buy. The costs of the rescue and hospital charges will all come out of Jeb's own pocket .... Only Jeb was hurt ..... Nobody else!!! Nobody else was put in harms way .... Only good can come out of this for Cape Town - it's cost us nothing. So shut up with all the pathetic whining

      Robert - 2012-01-19 16:15

      Amen Chris , agree with you completely

      Heinrich - 2012-01-19 16:20


  • Yusuf - 2012-01-19 16:02

    If it were an ordinary south african JOE SHMO Sanparks would have thrown the book at him i am disappointed that this oke was not fined his gonna make major bucks out of the stunt whether eventhough it was a failure

  • dyllon.symington - 2012-01-19 16:07

    South Africa is not kind to this man. According to Wikipedia ( he last had a accident in 1999 while attempting to base jump Howick Falls KZN.

  • Chris - 2012-01-19 16:14

    Good decision. HBO can pay for the costs of the rescue. The chopper and staff will be needed in future for people who do not take risks like Corliss.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 16:22

      You mean like the obese that eat too much, and have to be rushed off to hospital because they have had a stroke? Last time I checked, that was still one of the highest instances of emergency service calls wasn't it?

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 19:05

      So you are missing what my point is then completely. I never once said they shouldn't fine him - My annoyance is geared at people saying that he was wastefully using emergency services. I'm saying thats a bit unfair, considering people do stupid stuff every day and emergency services are there as A SERVICE. PS. Your hypothetical case is silly - They'd probably pull you out, give you a nice warm cup of something and say better luck next time, thanks for the publicity that we desperately needed

  • Xoli - 2012-01-19 16:24

    Thanks for latting us know where to go if we wanna commit suicide..

  • erica.guntherhaytread - 2012-01-19 16:46

    Give him a red bull next time

  • Vaughn - 2012-01-19 16:50

    this all about jumping...that guy should get a fine...its choice. if everyone got a fine for doing something that someone else didn't like we will all pay everyday. really who is innocent. just more crap to talk about.

  • Faith - 2012-01-19 18:47

    CHarge him I say... Is he poltically connected?

      Heinrich - 2012-01-19 19:48

      You can only charge him after he has been discharged. Both poles must be connected to enable a charge.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-01-19 21:26

      Probably too vague for the average News24 user maseratifittipaldi - But I loved it.

  • Daniel - 2012-01-20 10:03

    Don't judge other people to be 'crazy' just because they do things you wouldn't do yourself. We all have different comfort zones, different interests and different drives. Some people require extreme situations to release endorphins. Maybe watching tv is enough to satisfy you, but that doesn't mean it's enough for everyone. Not only that, extreme sports are also about beating your own personal best, to push your own limits and achieve something new. It's not about being a 'rebel'. I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone choosing to participate in an activity that puts his own life at risk, as long as he is aware of that risk. Any accident that happens is solely a consequence of that decision. (It's a different story if you put someone else at risk.) Why should he be fined? He is paying the price for that decision. And if he is already paying the bill for the rescue operation and the hospital fees, who do you think should get the money from the fine? It is sad that we have reached a point in modern life where everything must be under someone's control; even a mountain, and everything must be approved and legislated; even what someone does on said mountain. Sadly, true freedom and liberty is a thing of the past...

  • Patricia - 2012-01-21 01:20

    If I were an official for Table Mountain National Park, I would issue permits, but I would make sure that the cost of the permit was high enough to pay for any rescue operation that might be necessary. Something in the range of several thousand dollars should do it.

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