The Killing Season: Why Are So Many BASE Jumpers Dying?

A wingsuit BASE jumper just live-streamed his own death—marking the latest fatality in the sport’s deadliest year. We explore why flyers at all levels are dying in this extreme activity.

The end of summer can’t come fast enough for many in the speed-fueled world of wingsuit BASE jumping. This has already become the deadliest year on record for BASE jumping, with at least 31 deaths thus far. Twenty-three of those fatalities occurred this summer—six deaths in June, two in July, and 15 in August. The fatal spree has spurred practitioners to dub summer as “Wingsuit BASE Killing Season.”

“It’s been a horrific last couple of months,” says Richard Webb, a former fighter pilot for the U.S. Navy (think: Top Gun), current private pilot, and active wingsuit BASE-jumper from Moab, Utah. (I profiled Webb last year for his unique, scientific approach to opening new wingsuit jumps around Moab.)

“This is easily the worst season I can remember,” he says. “And, honestly, I haven’t even been keeping up with who’s been going in. I’m tired of the carnage.”

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