A BASE jumper was rescued after her chute got tangled on the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls, Idaho. The Twin Fall County Sheriff’s Office said a gust of wind blew the chute into the bottom trestle of the bridge and it got snagged. The incident happened around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday evening, KTVB 7 News reports.
First responders from the Twin Falls Fire Department, Magic Valley Paramedics Special Operations Reach and Treat Team (SORT), and Twin Falls County Search and Rescue arrived to find the female BASE jumper dangling about 10-to-15-feet below the trestle. A SORT member was lowered down to rescue 26-year-old, Carla Jean Segil, of Big Bear, California. The rescuer then attached Segil to his rescue lines and cut away the chute; everything was done by 6:30 p.m. The jumper wasn’t injured.
Twin Falls Times-News’ in-depth coverage further reveals that about 30 people were involved in Tuesday’s rescue operation. The team is highly trained in these types of situations. They’ve rescued people who have fallen off cliffs as well as canyon and rock climbers who’ve been injured.
Chad Smith, the special operations director for Magic Valley Paramedics, says he’s had mixed feelings about these kind of rescues costing tax payers money, but said BASE jumpers bring in a lot of money for tourism in the way of hotels and other accommodations. He said some daredevils who go to the popular location to jump, even donate money towards search and rescue.
“The rescuers that were out here were on duty,” says Brown. “They’re getting paid whether they’re out here doing a rescue or sitting behind a desk doing paperwork.”
The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office has responded to 23 BASE-jumping injuries at the Perrine Bridge since 2006. There have been three deaths since 2003.
Sheriff Doug McFall says Jerome County’s rescue personnel responds to BASE jumper rescue emergencies about once or twice a year on average.
An Australian who traveled to Twin Falls to BASE jump said he did so because it’s one of the safest places in the world to do it. With water running under the bridge and very few obstacles in the way, the Perrine Bridge is a popular spot for this type of activity.
Brown adds that Twin Falls rescue personnel usually respond to a BASE-jumping accident maybe six times a year. About 100 jumps from Perrine Bridge occur on a nice day, he said. BASE jumping is statistically “safer than most other extreme sports,” the report says.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]