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Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips

 

 

Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Oct 7, 2003, 10:58 AM
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Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips Can't Post

http://www.trib.com/....php?wire_num=255373

Quote:
Royal Gorge company fights return of extreme sports event

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) - The company that controls some airspace over the Royal Gorge bridge plans to try to block future extreme sports exhibitions after a skydiver was killed during a stunt.

Dwain Weston, 30, jumped from an airplane and hit the world's highest suspension bridge and fell onto rocks below Sunday after the inaugural Go Fast games skydiving competition, officials said.

Mark Greksa of the Canon City & Royal Gorge Route Railroad said Monday that he will prohibit the use of airspace over railroad tracks that run underneath the bridge for future events.

''I'm upset and my heart goes out to the (Weston) family,'' Greksa said. ''The RGX will not allow it again - it is absolutely crazy.''

Weston was attempting to perform a stunt where he and another parachutist were to jump from an airplane and free fall until reaching the bridge. Weston would go above the bridge and the other athlete would travel beneath it, officials said.

Weston who was traveling an estimated 100 mph miscalculated his distance, struck a bridge railing and fell onto a rock face roughly 300 feet from the bottom of the gorge.

Royal Gorge Bridge spokesman Mike Bandera said the bridge company is in negotiations to stage the games again next year. He said the event was similar to an air show or auto racing where accidents will happen, yet the events continue and remain popular.

''It was a skydiving accident and it is very unfortunate that a young professional lost his life,'' he said. ''There is no one at fault; the error was on the part of the skydiver.''

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There are a couple of technical faults in the article and possibly a misunderstanding about who "owns" the airspace over anything.

The company could prevent future demos by by not giving permission to land, but they do not and can not "own" any airspace.

Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Oct 7, 2003, 11:13 AM
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http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/...7253%255E401,00.html

Quote:
Parachutist filmed his own death
By Michael McKenna in Los Angeles
08oct03

AUSTRALIAN skydiver Dwain Weston filmed his own death over the weekend during a jump that witnesses described as near-suicidal.

Weston, 30, died after he slammed into a suspension bridge in Colorado during a free fall with another parachutist at the end of a two-day extreme sports event.

Weston was to free fall over the 316m-high bridge, with the other parachutist going under it, before pulling their chutes.

But witnesses yesterday said Weston, an extreme sports star and BASE-jumping record holder, appeared to have deliberately gone closer to the bridge than was originally planned.

Troy Widgery, founder of the Go Fast company that sponsored the extreme sports event, said Weston had flown under the bridge's arching suspension wires before he hit the hand railings at an estimated 160km/h.

Weston had a camera on his helmet filming the tragedy.

"Dwain's plan was to free fall well over the top of the bridge but watching you could see in his body position that he wanted to go closer than what we had expected," he said. "He obviously decided to take the risk, to go closer and he misjudged the winds in the gorge. "These people in extreme sports, they take increasingly more risks, they think they are invincible, immortal.

"Dwain had an amazing brain and could calculate currents in a split second, but it was too much."

Widgery said police were now looking for the helmet and camera and that he had refused to hand over his video of the tragedy.

"I am not willing to give it to them out of respect for his family," he said. "It is only going to end up on the TV news."

Widgery said Weston's "exhibition jump" had nothing to do with the sports event that his company had sponsored.

Weston, a Boeing computer systems consultant who lived in California, had apparently made a legally binding, video waiver that cleared the aircraft company of any liability if he died or was hurt in the jump.

The former Sydneysider had also made similar declarations to participate in several BASE-jumping events over the weekend.

Colorado officials lifted a ban on BASE jumping for the sports events, which included 40 jumpers.

Weston's death is reportedly the third fatality in the gorge, which is narrow and known for its unpredictable wind currents.

A spokeswoman for nearby Canon City police said she did not expect any charges to be laid over the death. "There will be a coronial investigation, but we don't think anything illegal occurred," she said.

"The waivers were signed for this to happen. It appears he miscalculated the jump. It is an extremely dangerous place."

Weston grew up in Sydney and was an avid surfer before getting into BASE jumping in which participants jump off buildings, antennas (such as cranes), spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs) and skydiving.

Weston set many records and won a recent contest for parachuting off the world's tallest office building the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.


(This post was edited by quade on Oct 7, 2003, 11:14 AM)

andy2

Oct 7, 2003, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
a jump that witnesses described as near-suicidal

If only they knew how far from the truth that statement actually is...

Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Oct 7, 2003, 11:30 AM
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Re: [andy2] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

Try not to focus on the opinions of whuffos.

Looking at these two articles gives a glimpse of things to come.

My heart goes out to everyone involved, but this is going to get messy. The helmet camera footage -will- be an issue and will eventually be subpoenaed by the police. Destroying it is an option, but would bring penalties. Frankly, I'm very surprised the police did not secure the area and that it is not already in their possession.

jdhill  (D License)

Oct 7, 2003, 11:37 AM
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Re: [quade] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
but they do not and can not "own" any airspace.

Well... that depends on how their deed reads... if they own "air rights" to the property then they can own the airspace. The question would be to what altitude, which I believe is a local issue (have not been able to find the exact numbers, but there is a limit).

J

AndyMan  (D 25698)

Oct 7, 2003, 11:40 AM
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Re: [quade] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm also surprised the FAA hasn't already launched an investigation. Do they usually start one right away, or is there frequently a delay?

_Am

diverdriver  (D 19012)

Oct 7, 2003, 11:48 AM
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Re: [AndyMan] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I'm also surprised the FAA hasn't already launched an investigation. Do they usually start one right away, or is there frequently a delay?

_Am

Who says they haven't?

Premier quade  (D 22635)
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Oct 7, 2003, 11:52 AM
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Re: [jdhill] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Well... that depends on how their deed reads... if they own "air rights" to the property then they can own the airspace. The question would be to what altitude, which I believe is a local issue (have not been able to find the exact numbers, but there is a limit).

No. That's just not right. "Deeds" just don't enter into it. Never has. Edited to add (Actually I did find some references in what we can safely consider ancient history to owning the land from the surface to the center of the earth and the heavens above, but that concept is well behind us now.)

The people of the USA own the airspace and it is managed by the federal government.

There have, from time to time, been cities and individuals that have "claimed" to control the air over their area, but it has been held many, many times, that ONLY the federal government has control over the airspace.

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_136.html

http://courts.state.ar.us/...030514/ca021159.html


(This post was edited by quade on Oct 7, 2003, 3:17 PM)

WFFC  (D 24610)

Oct 7, 2003, 3:09 PM
Post #9 of 10 (6942 views)
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Re: [quade] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
The company could prevent future demos by by not giving permission to land, but they do not and can not "own" any airspace.

There isn't much room from what I've seen at the bottom of the gorge. Most of the area that could be landable has the railroad tracks running on it and it isn't very wide. I'd like to know were everyone landed if anyone has a picture.

mccordia  (D 94775)

Oct 8, 2003, 1:39 AM
Post #10 of 10 (6802 views)
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Re: [WFFC] Royal Gorge incident aftermath -- Press Clips [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
Widgery said police were now looking for the helmet and camera and that he had refused to hand over his video of the tragedy.

"I am not willing to give it to them out of respect for his family," he said. "It is only going to end up on the TV news."

I hope the video of the accident itself never gets public...the media is a horrible machine....

 
 
 


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