A thrill seeker who jumped off a bridge in central Utah fell 300 feet after his parachute failed to open. He survived.
Erik Alberich, 30, Boston, Mass., jumped from the I-70 bridge in Eagle Canyon, Emery County, about 6 p.m. Sunday. He broke both legs after slamming into the ground, police said.Alberich was doing what is called BASE jumping, a extreme sport which involves parachuting from a stationary location - either man-made, such as a bridge, or natural, such as a high ridge - instead of from an airplane.
Paramedics transported the man by medical helicopter to LDS Hospital, where he was in fair condition Tuesday morning.
Alberich and several friends came to Utah from Boston to jump in the area and had in fact participated in the International Professional BASE Jumping Competition last weekend in Moab, a Emery County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.
Alberich apparently miscalculated the depth of the canyon that the bridge spans, Emery County sheriff's deputy Dusty Butler said.
"We heard they thought it was about 800 feet, but it's more like about 300," he said.
The bridge seems to be a seductive draw for many a daredevil, Butler said. Several people have tried to swing or rappel from it. Still others have jumped to their deaths, he said.
In addition to breaking his legs, Alberich might also have broken the law by parachuting from the bridge. Emery County Attorney Dave Blackwell said he would check the Utah law books to see if jumping from the bridge is illegal.
"We've never prosecuted anybody for it before; they've all died," Blackwell said.