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
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 19, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
British journalist John Cantlie hadn't been seen in nearly two years. Now, he's the latest hostage to be paraded out by ISIS.
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 18, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Alibaba's IPO is unlike anything investors have ever seen and could threaten other online retailers. Maggie Lake reports.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0130 GMT (0930 HKT)
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said al Qaeda will fail if it seeks to spread its terror network into his country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
 Tennis Player Li Na attends the WTA Pre-Wimbledon Party as guests enjoy Ciroc Vodka presented by Dubai Duty Free at Kensington Roof Gardens on June 19, 2014 in London,
Asia's first grand slam singles champion Li Na has called time on her 15-year tennis career.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
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