Skip to main content

Wingsuit flier Victor Kovats dies after cliff crash horror

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
October 12, 2013 -- Updated 0652 GMT (1452 HKT)
Hungarian wingsuit flier Victor Kovats jumps into a valley in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie, China, on Tuesday, October 8. Kovats died after his parachute failed to deploy and he plummeted into the valley. His body was found October 9. Hungarian wingsuit flier Victor Kovats jumps into a valley in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie, China, on Tuesday, October 8. Kovats died after his parachute failed to deploy and he plummeted into the valley. His body was found October 9.
HIDE CAPTION
Daredevil wingsuit flier plunges to death
Daredevil wingsuit flier plunges to death
Daredevil wingsuit flier plunges to death
Daredevil wingsuit flier plunges to death
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Victor Kovats found with a smashed skull at the foot of a 100-meter (328-foot) cliff in China
  • It's thought his parachute failed to deploy after a wingsuit flight, though an investigation is underway
  • Kovats was to compete in the second World Wingsuit Championships
  • Wingsuit flying sees participants glide through the air wearing a specially constructed suit

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The body of a Hungarian daredevil "wingsuit flier" has been found a day after he plunged into a remote valley in northwestern China during a practice flight ahead of the World Championships.

Rescuers discovered Victor Kovats with a smashed skull at the foot of a 100-meter (328-foot) cliff in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie on Wednesday, according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.

An investigation is now underway, though rescuers believe Kovats crashed into the cliff when his parachute failed to deploy.

Wingsuit flying is an extremely hazardous sport where participants glide through the air wearing a specially constructed suit with fabric under the arms and legs to slow the rate of descent. Much like skydiving, the flight ends with the deployment of a parachute.

Wingsuit flier's final flight
Wingsuit pilot flies into narrow valley
Daredevils fly through gap in skyscraper
Wingsuit Flying World Championship held

"We are deeply saddened by Victor Kovats's passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents and friends during these difficult times," read a statement on the website of the Red Bull World Wingsuit League (WWL), which organizes the competition.

"He will be always be remembered for his deep passion for life and his spirit of adventure, and he will always be sadly missed in the wingsuit community."

Skydiver found dead after jump in Tennessee

Difficult terrain

Kovats jumped at 2:51 p.m. local time, according to Xinhua. Witnesses then lost sight of Kovats after his parachute appeared to fail. Three other fliers successfully completed trial jumps at the time.

Nearly 200 firefighters and policemen were involved in the search operation, which was hampered by difficult terrain, according to Xinhua.

Kovats, a three-time Hungarian national champion, had completed 700 jumps. He was also an experienced skydiver and base jumper.

The organizers have not yet said if the event -- in its second year and scheduled to begin on October 11 -- will go ahead. The inaugural World Wingsuit Championships were held at Tianmen Mountain's 700-meter (2,300-foot) cliffs last year with 15 fliers from nine countries.

Kovats is the latest in a line of wingsuit fatalities. In August, a British stuntman, who parachuted in dressed as James Bond during the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, died after hitting a cliff while jumping in a wingsuit from a helicopter in Switzerland.

Mark Sutton, 42, and another man jumped from a height of about 3,300 meters (10,826 feet) in the Grandes-Otannes area in the Alps, near the border with France, a police statement said.

Skydiving instructor dies, student critically injured after jump gone awry

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 0214 GMT (1014 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 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