BASE jumpers fined after leaping from Q1 building
By Christine Flatley
May 01, 2007 12:45pm
TWO BASE jumpers have been fined $750 each after launching themselves off the world's tallest residential tower, the Q1 building on the Gold Coast.
Christopher McDougall, 31, and Daniel Aldridge, 25, both from Wollongong, pleaded guilty today in the Southport Magistrates Court to unlawful BASE jumping from a building.
The court was told the pair, who are both professional skydivers and BASE jumpers, turned up to Q1 early in the morning with a ground crew in March this year.
Once there they simply walked up the internal stairs and jumped out of an unknown unit on the northern side of the Surfers Paradise building.
A witness who saw them get into a white van after the jump notified police.
The men were taken into the Surfers Paradise police station where they made full admissions.
The court was told neither were aware BASE jumping was illegal in Queensland but neither would confirm this outside court.
In sentencing, Magistrate Catherine Pirie said she took into account that the pair had shown remorse and had not meant any harm.
However, she berated them for failing to gain permission from Q1 management or to enquire about the legality of BASE jumping in Queensland.
"The Q1 is in the middle of Surfers Paradise and it's one of the busiest places on the Gold Coast," she said.
Magistrate Pirie did not record a conviction after accepting it would limit the men's opportunities to travel overseas for skydiving and BASE jumping competitions.
Outside court, McDougall said he and Aldridge were happy with the decision.
"We respect the court's decision," he said.
"We are actually going to keep working towards getting legal events held in Australia.
"We're treated as world-class sportsmen elsewhere in the world and we just want to do that here safely and legally."
Five Australians have died in BASE (Building, Antennae, Span, Earth) jumping accidents in the past three years and many have been injured.