Skip to main content

Wingsuit flier Victor Kovats dies after cliff crash horror

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
updated 2:52 AM EDT, Sat October 12, 2013
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
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 6:31 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park, said to be a pet project of secretive young leader Kim Jong Un.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex in France, agents caught up with Ibrahim Boudina, a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back Syrian-schooled terror to Europe.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about the delicate business of trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
The accidental killing of a gun instructor raises an "absurd question," writes Mel Robbins.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
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