NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.--A 43-year-old daredevil successfully pulled off what he called the "Jason Bourne of BASE jumping" as he launched himself off the indoor balcony of a hotel atrium Thursday.
The jump may be one of the most technically challenging BASE jumps ever attempted. Miles Daisher, who has more than 2,700 jumps to his name, stood on the 19th story balcony of the Gaylord National Hotel, jumped and fell for six stories before deploying his parachute. Once deployed, he quickly made a 90 degree right turn, glided forward several hundred feet, and landed, some 180 feet beneath his takeoff point.
BASE jumping is much like skydiving, but is considered much more dangerous. While skydivers generally fall from airplanes flying several thousand feet above the ground, BASE (Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth) jumpers take off from fixed objects, leaving them much less room for error. According to a 2007 Journal of Trauma study, BASE jumping fatalities are about eight times more common than skydiving fatalities.
BASE jumpers have to deploy their parachutes almost instantaneously—in Daisher's case, he fell for less than 2 seconds before deploying the parachute. He was on the ground in less than 13 seconds. Only a handful of indoor jumps have ever been attempted. Daisher had only fallen from lower heights into water.
"There's not a lot of outs," or emergency exit strategies, Daisher told U.S. News. He had to fall far enough to avoid overhead girders and had to turn quickly enough to avoid indoor trees, hotel rooms and shops. "Only one spot to land."
The stunt was performed to kick off Red Bull Flugtag, a series of daredevil events set to be held in September in five cities nationwide. The jump is the latest in a series of high profile stunts sponsored by Red Bull, a beverage company. . In October 2012, Felix Baumgartner set a record for the world's highest sky dive when he jumped from more than 24 miles above the earth. Daisher's jump may have been much closer to the Earth, but it was still extremely dangerous, according to fellow daredevil and host of the event, Chris Ernst.
"It's the most logistically challenging thing Red Bull has done besides Felix Baumgartner's jump from outer space," he said. To prepare, Daisher practiced jumping off a bridge, but said "there's no way to really train for it. I just have to put my feet on the [landing] dot."
Daisher says his stunts compliment Baumgartner's.
"He flies high, I go low," he says.
From the ground below, it didn't seem that low. In the lead up to the jump, a cover of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" played on the loudspeaker. Hundreds of hotel guests stood on their balconies, Daisher's wife and three young kids, a host of police officers, media and fans stood near his landing spot. As he touched down, a paramedic carrying a stethoscope and a small first aid kit breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank God I didn't need these," he said.
See more photos from the event: