London Olympics' 'Bond' Dies in Wing-Suit Crash
A crash into a mountain in the Swiss Alps on Wednesday killed the man who parachuted into the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony dressed as James Bond.
The 42-year-old Mark Sutton from England jumped out of a helicopter wearing a wing-diving suit at 10,826 feet, the Daily Mail reports. He and a friend planned to land in a field near Martigny, but hit a mountain ridge on the way down at an estimated speed of 124 miles per hour.
Days before the jump, he posted about the trip on Facebook: “First trip here to fly and loving it.”
“We do not know what caused his death but we know it was immediate,” Jean-Marie Bornet of the Valais police service told the Daily Mail.
“The weather was good, but when a pilot takes part in this sport, the aim is to fly very close to the ground or mountain side. If you do this at speeds of (124 miles per hour), the margin for error is very small. One hypothesis is that he was too close to the mountain.”
An investigation may reveal whether winds could have played a role, he said.
Wing-divers, or wing-suit pilots, wear a suit with webbing between the arms and legs and normally deploy parachutes before landing.
Trey Cook, editor-in-chief of the extreme sports website Epic TV, had invited Sutton and 19 other elite wing-suit pilots to the Alps to be filmed while jumping.
“It was a really casual event,” he told the Daily Mail. “They had gone up in helicopters and they were jumping. They were choosing their own courses. We were filming them as they were flying.”
Danny Boyle, who directed the Olympics ceremony, told the London Evening Standard there was “none finer and braver” than Sutton.
Photo: Mark Sutton parachutes out of a helicopter with a Union Jack parachute during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Michael Regan/Getty Images