A daredevil completes 2400ft skydive without parachute
British stuntman Gary Connery has become the world's first skydiver to leap 2400 feet and safely land without deploying a parachute.
The 42-year-old daredevil dived from a helicopter in a death-defying feat before landing in an area containing 18,600 cardboard boxes.
The father of two, who is a veteran of 880 sky dives, 450 base jumps and dozens of film and television roles, jumped on Wednesday above Ridge Wood, Bucks to become the first person to jump from such a height and live without using a parachute.
The entire flight that was almost a mile long took less than a minute and was only given the green light because the weather conditions were “perfect”.
Connery, who is from nearby Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, dropped for three seconds before he reached speeds of more than 80mph in a specially developed wing suit that ‘started to fly’.
The stuntman landed on a strip measuring about 350ft (100m) by 45ft (15m) - and at its highest point 12ft off the ground - at Temple Island Meadows, on the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire border.
In order to successfully complete the audacious stunt, Connery had to flare his wing suit about 200ft from his target in order to bring his gliding speed down to 50mph and his vertical falling speed to 15mph.
He landed to cheers from thousands of people who had watched his feat and was met on the ground by his wife Vivienne, who gave him a kiss. He celebrated the achievement with champagne on the ground.
Connery, whose films credits include Die Another Day, The Beach, Batman Begins and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, said that it had been an “amazing feeling”.
“I feel absolutely wonderful, I am overwhelmed,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
“I am in a strange zone at the moment. It is an amazing feeling. I feel incredible, just completely elated”
“I am so choked with the turnout. It was so comfortable and so soft. I got my calcualtions absolutely right. There was some turbulence.”
He insisted that the fear “comes before you get into the helicopter. You don''t get in before you have dealt with that.”
“These suits are amazing. There is so much support in them. I could just go with it. I have been training and planning for this record attempt for many years now and I am so proud to have achieved a world first.”
“I want to thank everyone involved for their support and belief in me because this really has been a team effort.
“Tonight will be all about celebrating with friends and family, tomorrow I will be plotting my next daring challenge,” he said.
His wife, who owns a cafe in Henley, asserted that she felt quite relieved after Connery accomplished the feat.
“I am just so relieved it is all over,” she asserted.
Before the jump he had insisted that he would survive, as performing stunts was “his life” but admitted to being “a bit scared”.
“I''m 100 per cent confident I can achieve this jump,” former paratrooper said.
He had trained for the jump in the Swiss and Italian alps.
“I know I can fly, I know I can hit the target, I feel I''ve assessed the risk that I''m presented with and I''ve put everything in place to minimise that risk.
“This stunt will get great recognition and will be a post in the runway of aviation history. I''m sure plenty of people will think I''m bonkers but that''s OK, I take that as a compliment,” he said.
He confessed that his wife and children Kali, 15 and Lydia, 19, were worried about the stunt. He had made his first parachute jump as an Army recruit at the age of 23 and had since then become a professional stuntman.
He has already leapt from the top of London’s Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Nelson''s Column and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Patrick De Gayardon, the French aristocrat inventor of the modern wing suit, died when his parachute malfunctioned over Hawaii in 1998.