DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – It was only a matter of time before the sheer height of the world's tallest building attracted daredevils and pranksters.
Just days after the Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai, two base-jumpers leapt from its summit, plummeting 2204 feet to the desert floor.
Omar Al Hegelan and Nasser Al Neyadi, who are both experienced jumpers, who were given permission to attempt the death defying stunt, broke the basejump record, taking just one and a half minutes to reach the ground at speeds of 136 mph.
The glistening glass and steel megalith, which is 828m tall and cost $1.67 billion to build, was opened last week in a lavish ceremony that included a massive fireworks display.
Originally named the Burj Dubai. it was renamed Burj Khalifa after the cash-strapped emirate agreed to call it after its financial rescuer, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, President of its oil-rich neighbor, the United Arab Emirates.
The jumpers had no interest in the political or financial relevance of the tower, however. For them, it was only the size that mattered.
Al Niyadi, who already holds a world record for the first ever Mt. Everest sky dive, described the feat as "the best experience ever".
"When we were at the top of the building I was thinking 'this is crazy'. I was a little nervous but I wanted to jump from the highest tower in the world to record an achievement for my family and for my country," he told gulfnews.com.
He of over all his 2700 jumps "this was the most amazing."