The Death-Defying Career of Felix Baumgartner
After a brief setback last week, professional skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner has completed yet another death-defying stunt: falling from an altitude of over 24 miles and landing safely in Roswell, New Mexico.
In doing so, the 43-year-old daredevil has broken several world records, including the fastest descent by a man outside a craft (833.9 mph), the highest free-fall (over 24 miles) and the highest manned balloon trip (a ride which lasted over three hours). But records were of no concern to Baumgartner when he reached his jumping altitude: "When I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble, you do not think about breaking records anymore, you do not think about gaining scientific data," Baumgartner said after landing safely. "The only thing you want is to come back alive," he added.
And as it turns out, this accomplished Austrian has"come back alive" from a long list of death-defying stunts, almost all of which would make any sane person run screaming in the opposite direction. Here are a few of Baumgartner's most famous leaps.
Pirelli Skyscraper Jump
Baumgartner plummets from the top of the 137-metre-high Pirelli skyscraper in the center of Milan on July 30, 1999.
Christ the Redeemer BASE Jump
Baumgartner stands 747 meters above sea level, preparing to jump from the arm of the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janiero on December 1, 1999. It was the first known BASE jump made from the site.
Dedo de Deus
On January 8, 2002, the daredevil jumps off the "Dedo de Deus" rock (Finger of God) near Teresopolis, about 50 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. Baumgartner leapt from the 1,675-meter-high peak and had just 320 meters of space to open his chute.
English Channel Crossing
Baumgartner practices a free-fall across the English Channel on July 30, 2003. The next day, Baumgartner jumped out of a plane 9,000 meters above Dover in southern England — wearing only an aerodynamic jumpsuit, a carbon fin, an oxygen tank and a parachute — and landed safely in Calais after an eight-minute flight, becoming the first person to skydive across the English Channel.
On August 12, 2006, Baumgartner jumps from a helicopter before landing (via parachute) on Scandinavia's highest residential building, the Turning Torso (bottom right). After completing the illegal stunt in Malmo, Sweden, he then jumped from the Turning Tower and escaped to Denmark by boat.
Red Bull Stratos
At more than 13 miles above the earth, Baumgartner prepares for the first of two manned test flights for his Red Bull Stratos skydive record. On March 15, 2012, he completed the practice jump in approximately eight minutes and eight seconds, reaching speeds of more than 360 miles per hour.