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Hungarian wingsuit flyer dies in crash

Updated: 2013-10-09 11:38
Hungarian wingsuit flyer dies in crash

Hungarian wingsuit diver Victor Kovats, who was confirmed dead Wednesday, performs a warm-up flight during the 2nd Redbull WWL World Wingsuit Championship in Zhangjiajie of Central China's Hunan province on October 8, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

CHANGSHA - A Hungarian wingsuit flyer died when he plunged into a valley in Central China's Hunan province during a trial flight on Tuesday, rescuers confirmed on Wednesday.

The flyer, Victor Kovats, plunged into a valley around 3 pm in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie, when his parachute failed to deploy.

Rescuers retrieved Kovats' body from the foot of a 100 meter cliff on Wednesday morning. The flyer crashed onto the cliff and smashed his skull.

Rough, steep roads have made it extremely difficult to carry the body out of the park, the rescuers said.

Kovats was attending the Second World Wingsuit Championship, scheduled to be held at the park from October 11 to 13. Competitors are required to jump about 700 meters from the cliffs of Tianmen Mountain.

Kovats, in a yellow wingsuit, jumped at 2:51 pm, according to pictures taken by a witness. Three other flyers had successfully completed trial jumps. When witnesses lost sight of Kovats his parachute had not deployed.

Nearly 200 firefighters and policemen were involved in the search and rescue operation.

The World Wingsuit League posted a notice on its website on Wednesday, saying: "He will be always be remembered for his deep passion for life and his spirit of adventure, and he will be sadly missed in the wingsuit community.

"As a result of this tragedy we will conduct a thorough review of the events that led into this accident and adopt any appropriate changes for the future of the World Wingsuit League."

The incident may be related to a technical error during the trial flight, said competition organizers, while it was also possible that the flyer was pushed off course by a gust of wind and crashed into the forest.

Kovats was a three time Hungary national champion who had completed 700 jumps. In an interview prior to the event, he said he could be in the top three in the competition.

The organizers have not yet clarified whether the event will be cancelled or continue as scheduled.

The First World Wingsuit Championship was held at Tianmen Mountain last year with the participation of 15 fliers from nine countries.

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