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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Skydivers landing at World's Highest Point near Everest

Skydivers landing at World's Highest Point near Everest

Three skydivers - two British and one Indian - plunged through the shadow of Everest on Tuesday to land at the world's highest drop zone.

The daredevil adventurers jumped from an altitude of 6,154 metres (20,000 feet) early Tuesday morning and landed at Gorak Shep, a sandy plateau 5,165 metres above sea level.
"It was not just Everest. I could see the whole panorama of fantastic mountains and it was just amazing," said Leo Dickinson.

"You have got the mountains rushing past you. I just didn't want it to end," the 62-year-old, who has made over 3,500 skydives, told AFP after returning to Kathmandu.

"I had a freefall for four seconds and in the next three minutes I was already landing," said Dickinson, a British documentary filmmaker who was also the first person to fly over Everest in a balloon, in 1991.

Dickinson said he would begin the process to register the feat after getting back home.

"I have never heard anyone landing at that height so far. I will claim for world's highest parachute jump landing with Guinness World Records," he said.

Nepal started offering skydive trips in front of the 8,848-metre (29,028-foot) Everest last year. The landing point at that time was Shyangboche -- a small airstrip at 3,742 metres in the foothills.

"I haven't done anything like this before. It was just stunning," said 24-year-old Ralph Mitchell, a skydive instructor.
The skydivers said they faced sub-zero temperatures and fast-changing weather when they jumped.

"It was thrilling and exhilarating to be so close to Everest," said Ramesh Chandra Tripathi, 45, who is a parajump instructor for the Indian Air Force.

"It offers a totally different challenge in terms of high winds and freezing temperatures," said Tripathi, who climbed Everest in 2005.

"The wind was drifting me away. The chances of falling into crevasses or hitting the ridges and glaciers was high but it is worth fighting against the odds of nature," he said.


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