Parachutist Dies in Protest Jump
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — A parachutist plunged to her death off Yosemite’s most forbidding peak Friday during a protest of park rules banning such jumps.
Jan Davis, 60, was the fourth of five jumpers in the protest, which was organized in response to the June 9 drowning death of a jumper who sucessfully parachuted off El Capitan, only to drown in the river below while trying to flee rangers.
``The first four were beautiful. And then she jumped. Everybody thought it was OK, and then people said ‘Open up! Open up!. Then we heard a splat and the whole place turned quiet,’’ said Paul Sakuma, an Associated Press
Davis, of Santa Barbara, Calif., fell to the base of 3,200-foot El Capitan, and rangers quickly cordoned off the area.
The danger of the extreme sport of jumping off cliffs, buildings and other stationary objects led the National Park Service to ban such jumps. Nationwide, an estimated 21 people have died jumping this way in the last 20 years.
Called BASE jumping, the acronym comes from ``Building, Antenna, Span, Earth.’’
BASE jumping was legal in the park for a trial period in 1980, but restrictions on when people could jump and the number of jumps per day were routinely violated, so the activity was banned.
“My hovercraft is full of eels.”