BASE Jumper In Twin Falls Dies After Parachute Set On Fire

May 19, 2015

Authorities say a 73-year-old BASE jumper who died after leaping from a southern Idaho bridge had set his parachute on fire as part of a stunt.

A graphic video of the May 7 fatal jump was posted on YouTube on Monday. It appears to show James E. Hickey of Claremont, California, engulfed in flames as he plunged 500 feet from the Perrine Bridge to his death in the Snake River.

Officials say Hickey had planned to jettison the flaming parachute and deploy a second chute in the stunt. Professional BASE jumper Sean Chuma told the Twin Falls newspaper The Times-News that he heard Hickey had previously performed the stunt while skydiving.

The initial report from the Twin Falls County Sheriff's office, released shortly after Hickey's death, said only that his parachute deployed too late.

At least five people have died in BASE jumping accidents since January, including two last week at Yosemite National Park.