Skip to main content

Report: London Olympics parachutist Mark Sutton dies in Switzerland

By Laura Smith-Spark and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 0618 GMT (1418 HKT)
Mark Sutton as James Bond parachutes out of a helicopter during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mark Sutton as James Bond parachutes out of a helicopter during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: British Parachute Association is saddened by news of the death of a member
  • Swiss police say a 42-year-old British man died after jumping in a wingsuit
  • UK media name him as Mark Sutton, who jumped at the London Olympics opening ceremony
  • Police say the man hit a cliff after jumping from a helicopter in the Alps

(CNN) -- A British stuntman who parachuted dressed as James Bond during the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony has died, UK media reported.

Mark Sutton, whose performance was one of the highlights of the opening ceremony, was in Switzerland at the time of his death.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2013. Click through to see people who passed away in 2013.
People we lost in 2013
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2013 Photos: People we lost in 2013

Police in Switzerland's Valais Canton did not name him, saying formal identification is under way after the incident Wednesday morning in the Trient area.

The 42-year-old died after hitting a cliff while jumping in a "wingsuit" from a helicopter, a police statement said.

He and another man jumped from a height of about 3,300 meters in the Grandes-Otannes area in the Alps, near the border with France, the statement said.

The Olympics' opening ceremony

"They then flew remaining close to the mountain, with the intention of landing near Le Peuty, near Trient, in Switzerland," it said.

"During this flight, one of the men suffered a fatal fall. According to a preliminary investigation, it appears that he fell after hitting a cliff."

The Briton was in Chamonix with 20 other professionals "considered among the best in the world in this discipline," police said.

They had been gathered there by a company that specializes in extreme sports, with daredevil feats filmed and broadcast via the Internet.

The UK Foreign Office confirmed the death of a British citizen in Switzerland, and a spokesman said the office stood "ready to provide consular assistance."

Sutton jumped from a helicopter above the Olympic stadium alongside a fellow stuntman dressed as Queen Elizabeth II in an opening ceremony show seen by millions.

Gary Connery, who played the queen, made an apparent reference to news of Sutton's death on Twitter.

"All you jumpers/flyers out there, stay safe, make wise choices and know your limits and your locations. Live to tell your stories. One love," he posted late Wednesday.

Wingsuit jumping is an extreme sport carried out by experienced skydivers who use a special suit -- which looks like a superhero's cape -- to increase the surface area of the body. The large suit allows them to extend their time in free fall before deploying a parachute to land.

John Hitchen, national coach and safety officer for the British Parachute Association, said the organization was saddened to hear about the death of Sutton, who was a member.

He said jumpers need to be experienced to use wingsuits, which allow the user to slow their descent, to glide to a degree and move horizontally to the ground.

Although the details are unconfirmed as yet, Sutton may have been "terrain flying," which involves flying very close to mountains or cliffs, Hitchen said.

"You get a buzz from it but it's potentially quite hazardous," he said.

People we've lost in 2013

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 2001 GMT (0401 HKT)
The U.S. has promised to supply and train "acceptable" rebels in Syria to counter ISIS. But who are they and are can the strategy work?
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0916 GMT (1716 HKT)
Branded an "extremist" by China's state-run media, Joshua Wong isn't even old enough to drive.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised political pundits with his rapid rise to power. CNN meets the man behind the enigma.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Liverpool's Italian forward Mario Balotelli reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Liverpool and Ludogorets Razgrad at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool on September 16, 2014.
British police launched an investigation into abusive tweets sent to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
September 21, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
A woman who was texting her husband before he was killed reflects on the Westgate attack.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1049 GMT (1849 HKT)
British PM David Cameron has had the narrowest of political escapes.
The burial leader. The hospital gatekeeper. The disease detective. All telling powerful, stories from West Africa.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
The real secret to a faster commute has been with us all along -- the bus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
13 brands retained their Top 20 status from last year, according to an annual survey.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
Think your new tattoo is cool? Look at how our ancestors did it and think again.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1100 GMT (1900 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT