Mario Richard, a 47-year-old BASE jumper, died in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains on Monday during a wingsuit BASE jump.
According to Climbing, Mario Richard was a highly experienced jumper with over 7,000 skydives and 2,000 BASE jumps to his record. They said that the Quebec native took his first skydive in 1988 and his first BASE jump from a 875-foot bridge in West Virginia in 1991.
He and his wife rock climber Steph Davis lived in Moab, Utah. They owned and operated Moab BASE Adventures.
It isn’t entirely clear what went wrong.
According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Richard died while jumping from a 1,000 meter peak near Bolzano. The Alpine rescue service said that he’d performed the same jump three times the day before.
However, on the fatal jump, they believe that he miscalculated by only three meters.
A more expanded report in The New York Times said that his wife had made the same jump successfully moments before. However, they added that both Steph Davis and Mario Richard wore wingsuits to extend their flying time before pulling the parachute.
The sport is dangerous. The added moments of flight come with a cost since jumping with a wingsuit has a very low tolerance for error.
Sadly, in the aftermath of the tragedy, at least one hoax video has emerged that purports to show Mario Richard’s final jump. I’m not about to link to that hoaxer here.
But if you come across a YouTube video that claims to be of Richard’s jump, look carefully. If it’s heavily watermarked by the Telegraph, compare it to a video posted by the British news source in May.
Yes, it’s a 1,000 foot fall. And, yes, the jumper lets out a scream as he undertakes the BASE jump gone wrong in Lake Garda, Italy.
But that’s 25-year-old Matthew Gough, not 47-year-old Mario Richard. And, amazingly, Gough survived the fall with relatively minor injuries.
The video comes from the headcam Gough wore during the jump.
It’s a shame we would have to warn you about a hoax video from someone trying to exploit BASE jumper Mario Richard’s death. Sadly, we do.