LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A daredevil skydiver on Saturday became the first to jump from a height of 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) without a parachute, landing in a net in southern California, a spokesman said.
Luke Aikins, 42, who has 18,000 jumps under his belt, completed the jump in Simi Valley just west of Los Angeles, landing in a net measuring 100 feet by 100 feet (30 meters by 30 meters) in a feat broadcast on Fox.
“Aikins’ leap represents the culmination of a 26-year career that will set a personal and world record for the highest jump without a parachute or wing suit,” his spokesman Justin Aclin said in an email.
The Fox broadcast showed Aikins, who was wearing an oxygen mask because of the altitude, jump out of a propeller plane in a bright green outfit along with three parachutists.
He later handed the mask to one of the other jumpers in mid-air. Then, the three accompanying skydivers opened their chutes and seemed to rise up away from Aikins, as he fell alone.
Lights were set along the side of the net to serve as a guide for Aikins to aim himself as he hurtled toward it. When he was on target, the lights shone white.
After a free-fall lasting about two minutes, Aikins at the last second flipped onto his back and hit the net, which Aclin said was suspended 200 feet (61 meters) above ground with a secondary net below it.
Aikins previously said the net system would subject him to a G-force of no more than five g and break his fall for about one and a half seconds.
After he was lowered from the net, Aikins hugged his wife, Monica.
“I’m almost levitating, it’s incredible,” Aikins told an interviewer at the end of the Fox broadcast.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Kim Coghill)