Wingsuit Flier Dies: Victor Kovats Crashes as Parachute Fails

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 06:40 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Image: Wingsuit Flier Dies: Victor Kovats Crashes as Parachute Fails
Wingsuit flier Victor Kovats died Tuesday at the World Wingsuit Championships in China when his parachute didn’t deploy during a practice jump and he crashed into the side of a mountain as a Chinese state television station filmed.

Kovats, of Hungary, was found at the base of a cliff in the Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park on Wednesday, CNN said. Officials are investigating the incident.

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A video of the jump shows him falling through the air and does not show his parachute opening.

Kovats was a three-time Hungarian national champion and had made over 700 jumps.

“We are deeply saddened by Victor Kovats's passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and friends during these difficult times," said a statement on the website of the Red Bull World Wingsuit League (WWL). "He will be always be remembered for his deep passion for life and his spirit of adventure, and he will always be sadly missed in the wingsuit community."

The organization, which sponsors the competition, said the sport involves high risk.

“For the last three years we have worked closely on safety issues with the athletes, manufacturers and other experts,” the statement said. “Still, when the world’s best compete at the highest level in any sport, the risks remain.”

Kovats' death follows that of an unidentified Californian who died in September after making a wingsuit jump from a cliff in the Alps, the New York Daily News said.

It was the sixth wingsuit death in the Alps in six months, and many are calling for a ban of the dangerous sport. The area where the Californian died had actually banned wingsuit jumps for a time, but opened the area to those jumps after people protested they were responsible for their own safety, the Daily News said.

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Related stories:

Mark Sutton, Who Parachuted into Olympics, Dies in Wingsuit Jump

2 Skydivers Die Together in Florida When Parachutes Fail to Open

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