Killed Kiwi basejumper's life of adventure

Last updated 14:02 31/03/2014
Dan Vicary

DAN VICARY: Ranked number 2 in the world.

Dan Vicary in action

Dan Vicary
CHAMPION: Former Invercargill man Dan Vicary, shows off his Wingsuit racing trophies.

'Passionate' basejumper NZ killed

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Kiwi basejumper Dan Vicary led an extraordinary life, including saving many lives during the Boxing Day tsunami.

Vicary, formerly of Invercargill, has been killed in a wingsuit accident in Sengg, Switzerland.

His wife Lisa Hutchins said he was an "amazing human being" who had pulled people from the water in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami.

It was before she met Vicary but he and others had recounted what happened.

He was training to be a dive instructor and was on the beach when the disaster hit Sri Lanka.

There was no medical help available and many of the locals could not swim, she said.

''He saw people suffering and stayed and helped, pulling people out of the water and putting them back together.''

His actions and humility afterwards were a testimony to the man Vicary was, she said. 

He was a wingsuit pioneer and was chosen to test different brands of wingsuits for the market.

He was always playing with suits, looking to see how he could improve the gear, she said.

Adventure was the main driver for him and he died doing what he loved, she said.

''Adventure - that is what life was with him. I always told him he lived everyday like someone left the gate open.''

It was an inherently risky sport but Vicary was a professional who did all the training he could do, she said.

''I know he wouldn't change anything.''

The pair had recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary.


Vicary and two others, had just jumped from a helicopter over the Lutschental valley in the Bern canton, and smashed into an alpine pasture, the International Business Times reported.

Vicary and a Frenchman, named by the World Wingsuit League as Ludo Woerth, were dead when rescuers arrived. The third jumper, whose nationality was unknown, was seriously injured.

Vicary represented New Zealand at the World Wingsuit Race in Brazil last year and was ranked No 2 in the world for the sport.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) said it was aware of the death of a New Zealander as a result of a wingsuit dive.

Vicary's family was gathering in Invercargill and were still getting information about what had happened.

Wingsuit flying is a sport where participants dress in "birdman" suits and jump from cliffs as high as 2000 metres, or from aircraft, gliding as fast as they can before parachuting to the ground. They cover a kilometre in about 30 seconds.

The World Wingsuit League posted a tribute naming the pair on their Facebook page.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear the news about the fatal wingsuit accident of Ludo Woerth and Dan Vicary," the league wrote.

"We want to express our deepest condolences for their families, friends and loved ones during these difficult times."

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On Vicary's Facebook profile, he was described as a dedicated professional basejumper and skydiver.

"Basejumping is a beautiful sport," he wrote.

"It's a respectful sport - we are considerate of fellow jumpers and pilots and also the environment in which we fly.

"It's technical and, often, downright geeky. And it's taken me all around the world, meeting some of the most inspirational, motivated, brilliant and humble people on the planet." 

- Stuff

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