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Dublin: 11°C Tuesday 19 January 2021

Legendary extreme athlete and friend killed in failed BASE jump attempt

The bodies Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were found at the Yosemite National Park in California.

Potter before a jump with his dog.
Potter before a jump with his dog.
Image: YouTube/National Geographic

A WORLD-RENOWNED extreme athlete has died along with another man during a stunt at the Yosemite National Park in California.

Tributes poured in from all over the globe for Dean Potter, 43, following his death on Saturday.

He and fellow BASE jumper Graham Hunt, 29, were killed during a jump at Taft Point, ABC News said, citing Yosemite National Park spokesman Scott Gediman.

Reports filtered through to park officials on Saturday of an accident and a helicopter spotted the two bodies on Sunday.

When Rangers got to them about noon, they were identified as Potter and Hunt, Gediman said.

Other media said the pair had been attempting a wingsuit flight from Taft Point but smashed into a rocky outcrop when they tried to fly through a narrow gap in the mountains.

On Potter’s official Facebook page — where he describes himself as “artist, adventurer, athlete” — extreme sports enthusiasts from all over the world paid tribute to the man admired for his fearlessness and incredible courage.

His last Facebook post, on May 12, shows a picture of his dog in a mountainous landscape and the caption: “Miss Whisper. Yosemite Dog.”

In an interview with The New York Times in 2008, Potter said: “Part of me says it’s kind of crazy to think you can fly your human body.

“Another part of me thinks all of us have had the dream that we can fly. Why not chase after it? Maybe it brings you to some other tangent. Chasing after the unattainable is the fun part.”

BASE stands for buildings, antennas, spans and Earth that jumpers can parachute from. It is illegal in US national parks.

© AFP 2015

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