Wingsuit Daredevil Dies in Swiss Crash

Mount Gitschen

Was it a premonition? Californian extreme sports adventurer Johnny Strange told Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM’S Kevin and Bean Show that the weather in Switzerland was concerning him and he might put off his planned wingsuit jump.

“I don’t want to get hurt,” he told the morning show host just one day before taking his fatal flight.

Strange crashed seconds after jumping from 8245-foot Mount Gitschen, a popular spot for extreme sports enthusiasts where another American wingsuit flier died in early July. It’s still not clear what caused the crash but authorities say there were strong winds on the mountain that day.

A native of Malibu, California, the 23-year-old Strange was a fearless adventurer who became the youngest person to scale the tallest peak on each of the world’s seven continents when he conquered the last one – Mount Everest – at age 17. He often used his growing fame and social media following to publicize causes he believed in.

A frequent guest on KROQ, Strange told listeners during his last interview to follow his progress on Instagram and posted a short video of himself flying, shot with a body cam shortly after he signed off with radio hosts Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter.

Earlier this year, another BASE jumping legend Dean Potter was killed in Yosemite.

It’s been a tragic year for extreme sports. In May, well-known climber and jumper Dean Potter was killed in an accident in Yosemite National Park. Canadian Gabriel Hubert died in a jump crash on June 7. Known as “Bird Man,” Columbian Johnathan Florez died on June 3 while base jumping in Engelberg, Switzerland. At the time of his death he was the holder of four world records: the longest free fall distance (17.25 km), the longest distance in a wingsuit (16.31km), the longest amount of time in freefall (9 minutes 6 seconds) and the highest altitude wingsuit jump (37,265 feet.)

Photo credit: Mt. Gitschen, Switzerland — Flickr CC