A giant leap into history

Daredevilry: Armyman dives from 475-ft TV tower in Delhi

A giant leap into history

BASE jumping is a new form of a risky adventure sport in which divers undertake a free fall from tall buildings, antennas, spans (bridge) and earth (cliff). The jump involves using a specialised parachute, manufactured to ensure faster and more reliable opening.

After the successful jump on Friday morning, Lt Col Satyendra Verma said: “It was a thrill — nothing more, nothing less. When you jump, you forget everything. But it involves right preparation, and when preparations are right, nothing will go wrong.”

Different from skydiving

In an interview with Deccan Herald earlier, Verma said: “This sport is different from skydiving as the jumper gets very little time to react. For example a BASE jump from a 500 foot (150 metre) object is about 5.6 seconds from the ground and since there is no time to use a reserve parachute, only one parachute is used.”

Even though its a popular form of risky adventure sports, India did not witness any BASE jump so far because of not receiving approval from authorities to dive from high platform and bridges. In fact, Doordarshan took close to a year to grant approval to Army adventure wing for using the TV tower as a BASE platform.

Verma said there were prominent risks in BASE jumping, which could be minimised by proper packing of the parachute and immaculate planning of the jump keeping the wind velocity and direction in mind.

“But most importantly, if you are scared then the risks multiply manifold. So, its all a mind game and that is what makes it so much fun,” he said.

Perched on top of the tower from the crack of the dawn, Verma waved to his officers and a battery of mediapersons watching from the ground.

He then leapt off, steadied the aerodynamics of his body after a free fall for some seconds, before opening his parachute.

When the chute opened fully, Verma’s seniors heaved a sigh of relief because this was the most difficult part of the sport before the landing. From the time of jump to landing on the ground — it was a thrilling, racy 30 seconds in the air for Verma. 

Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, Director-General of Military Training, said in future Army adventure wing would undertake activities like skiing to the South Pole covering a distance of 1,170 km, an expedition to the sixth highest mountain of the world Mount Manaslu and a Microlight flying expedition to the length and breadth of the country.

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