Skip to main content

Report: London Olympics parachutist Mark Sutton dies in Switzerland

By Laura Smith-Spark and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
updated 2:18 AM EDT, Fri August 16, 2013
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
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
updated 8:24 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
updated 9:53 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
updated 1:32 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 11:35 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT