TAIPEI (Taiwan) – Austrian Base-Jumper Felix Baumgartner, 38, leaped off the world’s tallest building on Tuesday – the 509-meter high "Taipei 101 Tower" for the first time. The renowned extreme sport star had to first overcome a number of hurdles with stylish moves that would have made James Bond proud.
Baumgartner, an extreme sport professional, has had his eye on a leap from the world’s tallest completed building ever since it was officially completed three years ago.
After two reconnaissance missions to scout out the tower in the past year, the undisputed star of the extreme sport scene with the registration "Base 502" made his spectacular leap on Tuesday (11 Dec 2007) from platform at exactly 4.18 p.m. local time (0818 GMT) and after a five second-long free fall opened his parachute just before landing safely on the roof of a multi-storey car park.
Baumgartner prepared for the leap and his escape with utmost secrecy, using intelligence agency-style tactics to scout out the sight. Disguised in different sets of clothing, he first checked out where the security cameras were located as well as surveying the building’s security system and the zones of exclusion. On the day before his leap, Baumgartner was able to smuggle his parachute past the tight security with the help of a local Taiwanese acquaintance, who then hid it in a bathroom ceiling. Just before Baumgartner’s leap his helpers were able to create a distraction on the observation platform, enabling the top Austrian athlete to quickly climb up and over the three-meter high security barrier.
He encountered an unexpected problem after clearing the three meter-high barrier when he had to jump down four meters to reach the ledge, smashing several building tiles in the process. He then made the historic leap from the highest building in the world with a badly bruised heel.
Two hours after his jump Baumgartner was sitting on a plane bound for Hong Kong and full of joy: "I tried three times and now I’ve finally fulfilled a dream."