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FEATURE NEWS

BASE JUMPER KILLED NORTH OF BARING WAS BOTHELL WOMAN
Experienced sky diver and glider pilot’s chute failed to open

July 27, 2010




Map shows where base jumper died just Northeast of Baring, For larger map click image below. CLICK TO ENLARGE


LARGER MAP shows where base jumper died just Northeast of Baring, CLICK TO ENLARGE


Photo of Baring Mountain where base jumper died. CLICK TO ENLARGE


Base jumpers dive off a tall radio transmission tower. CLICK TO ENLARGE
(BARING, WA) -- A woman who died while “base jumping” with a parachute Sunday northeast of Baring, Washington and U.S. Highway 2 in eastern Snohomish County has been identified as 32-year old Aude-Marianne Bertucchi of Bothell.

Bertucchi, an experienced skydiver, died during a jump off 6,125 foot Baring Mountain in the Cascade foothillls when her parachute failed to open.

A spokesman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office said it was not known why the chute failed to deploy.

Base jumpers are sports parachuters who jump off any tall structure be it a building, bridge, high cliff, etc. It is considered an “extreme sport” and is usually pursued only by those already well experienced in parachuting from planes.

Besides sky diving and base-jumping Bertucchi was also a glider pilot. The June/July 2005 issue of “Yawstring”, a newsletter of the Boeing Employees soaring club noted, “BESC would like to welcome our new members…Aude-Marianne Bertucchi and husband Nicholas Constantine. They joined in early June, and immediately helped us at our encampment in Ephrata. Aude-Marianne flew gliders in Brazil and has some 30 hours to her name. Nicolas will be a brand-new student. They live in Arlington.”

BASE jumping is an extreme sport that grew out of skydiving. BASE jumps are generally made from much lower altitudes than skydives, and a BASE jump takes place close to the object serving as the jump platform.

BASE JUMPING: A FAR DIFFERENT ADVENTURE SPORT THAN SKY DIVING

BASE jumping is vastly different than sky diving because BASE jumps generally entail slower airspeeds than typical skydives (due to the limited altitude) and in the higher airspeeds of sky diving the diver has more aerodynamic control of the body as well as more positive and quick parachute openings (the longer the delay in chute opening the better).

Skydivers use the airflow to stabilize their position, allowing the parachute to deploy cleanly. BASE jumpers on the other hand, falling at lower speeds, have less aerodynamic control, and may tumble.

The attitude of the body at the moment of jumping determines the stability of flight in the first few seconds, before sufficient airspeed has built up to enable aerodynamic stability.

On low BASE jumps, parachute deployment takes place during this early phase of flight, so if a poor "launch" leads into a tumble, the jumper may not be able to correct this before the opening.

If the parachute is deployed while the jumper is tumbling, there is a high risk of entanglement or malfunction.

The jumper may also not be facing the right direction. Such an off-heading opening is not as problematic in skydiving, but an off-heading opening that results in "object strike" has caused many serious injuries and deaths in BASE jumping.

Most BASE jumps are made from less than 600m (2,000 feet). For example, a BASE jump from a 150m (500 foot) object is about 5.6 seconds from the ground if the jumper remains in free fall.

On a BASE jump, the parachute must open at about half the airspeed of a similar skydive, and more quickly (in a shorter distance fallen).

Standard skydiving parachute systems are not designed for this situation, so BASE jumpers often use specially designed harnesses and parachute containers, with extra large pilot chutes, and many jump with only one parachute, since there would be little time to utilize a reserve parachute.

Another risk in this extreme sport is that most BASE jumping venues have very small areas in which to land.

A beginner skydiver, after parachute deployment, may have a three-minute or more parachute ride to the ground. A BASE jump from 150m (500 foot) will have a parachute ride of only 10 to 15 seconds.





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