Parachutist Injured Getting Jump on 'Bridge Day'

A man who apparently got a one-day jump on Bridge Day has been injured parachuting from a Beckley-area bridge.

Authorities say the man suffered a broken leg parachuting off a bridge linking Interstate 64 and Beckley on Friday. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to Beckley Appalachian Regional Hospital.

The accident occurred a day before the annual Bridge Day event, officials said.

Authorities say the man was with a group of people who had BASE jumping gear. The case is being investigated by the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department.

Organizers expected more than 100,000 spectators to be lined up along U.S. Route 19 to watch the jumps on Saturday, and have pushed to extend Bridge Day jumping from six hours to several days to harness tourism dollars and showcase the sport.

The acronym BASE stands for the places from which jumpers usually leap: buildings, antennae, spans and earth. It's considered even more riskier than skydiving because of the shortened time between jumping and landing.

Starting this year, applicants must have at least 100 previous jumps, either skydiving or BASE jumping. One of those jumps must have occurred in the previous two years. Previously, there was a 50-jump minimum.