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Baumgartner jumps from world's highest bridge

Published: Wed 30 Jun 2004 11:55 AM
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Felix Baumgartner jumps from world's highest bridge


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Picture: Bernhard Spoettel
Austrian Felix Baumgartner, known for his Channel crossing in 2003, jumped from the highest bridge in the world (maximum height at the top of the pillars: 343 metres), which was recently completed near Millau in southern France. In order to avoid bridge security, the 34-year-old skydiver climbed a 230-meter-high column unsecured in the middle of the night on Sunday 27th June.
The highest bridge in the world near Millau won’t be opened until November but the BASE jumper, Felix Baumgartner from Austria, could not wait and conquered it already on Sunday, June 27. The two carriageways of the 2.5 km long construction were just connected at the end of May. The bridge stretches across the river Parne and is so high that the Eiffel Tower would fit under it. The former World Champion in BASE jumping read about it in the newspaper, arrived there only hours later and had 48 hours to complete his mission successfully.
During the first night he checked out the situation and at 1am during the second night the all-rounder started his climb. As both sides of the bridge were heavily guarded, Baumgartner was forced to climb up a 230-meter-high column. Since construction is going on 24 hours a day and the containers for the hundreds of workers are situated directly under the bridge, he dressed in black overalls in order to avoid being spotted. Just as when he made his now legendary jump off the Christ Statue in Rio de Janeiro - where he used a crossbow to shoot the rope over the arm of the statue and then climbed it - the ascent in Millau was at least as hard as the jump itself.
"I wasn't secured and could only hold on to a steel rail", said the 34-year-old.
Picture: Bernhard Spoettel
After spending the night hidden under the road in the steel formwork, he received the text message "all clear" from his cameraman and at 7 am he jumped from the highest point of the bridge with his characteristic back flip.
"It's athletic ambition," said Baumgartner, explaining his motivation for such dangerous actions.
”Ultimate jumps are for me what World Championships are for others."
After the highest building in the world, the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, which he was the first to jump in 2000, Felix Baumgartner can now put down the highest bridge in the world on his score list.
Picture: Bernhard Spoettel
ENDS

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