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BASE jumper becomes stuck in tree, later rescued

September 18, 2012 |  9:42 am

A man was plucked from a tree early Tuesday morning after he BASE jumped off a 730-feet Northern California bridge thought to be the highest in the state, an official said.

The man became tangled in the tree about 100 feet off the ground after jumping from the Foresthill bridge in Placer County, about 40 minutes out of Sacramento, said CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Department received a call around 9 p.m. Monday; the man was rescued with a 90-foot boom on a Pacific Gas & Electric truck about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

“The location he was at and the time of night made a helicopter rescue not very safe,” Berlant said. “So we chose to get him with the boom.”

Berlant said the man was relatively calm while crews worked to rescue him. He was taken to a hospital for minor injuries.

The Foresthill bridge is considered the highest in California and the fourth highest in the U.S., and attracts lots of jumpers, Berlant said.

BASE jumpers leap from fixed objects and use a parachute to break their fall. BASE is an acronym for four categories of fixed objects: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges) and earth (cliffs).

The railings on the Foresthill bridge are easy to climb up and BASE jumpers leap from the bridge and try to navigate down to the north fork of the American River, where they try to land on a trail about as wide as a car, Berlant said.

“The hiking trail is a narrow target and if they don’t hit it perfectly, then they’re in the river and rocks on one side and trees and a steep cliff on the other side,” he said.

The jumper could also be in legal trouble. Last October, rescuers also saved a Squaw Valley man after he jumped off the bridge and his parachute became tangled in a tree. He was later arrested.


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