The 30th annual Bridge Day festival offered plenty of thrills for the thousands of spectators who came out in the cold to watch 450 BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) jumpers from around the globe jump the 876 feet down to the New River in Fayetteville West Virginia on October 17th.
This is the largest extreme sports gathering of BASE jumpers in the world and this year marked Bridge Day’s 30th anniversary. Bridge Day is always the 3rd Saturday in October and it is the only day of the year that it is legal to jump from the bridge.
In the history of Bridge Day, there have only been 3 fatalities. In comparison, West Virginia saw 53 ATV fatalities in 2006 alone, so BASE jumping has a good safety record at this event.
Out of the 450 registered jumpers, 12% were female, the average age of the jumpers was 33 and every one of them was required to complete at least 100 prior sky dives to qualify for the jump, although the majority of jumpers have also completed at least 100 BASE jumps.
The bridge was opened on October 22nd, 1977 although the first Bridge Day was not until 1980. The Bridge is the second highest bridge in the United States, and at 1,700 feet it was the longest single span bridge in the world until 2003 when China built the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai which is 1,815 feet.
Although most people may never BASE jump from this Awesome Bridge, everyone can view and admire the engineering that went into the design and building of this 23,000 tons of steel and over 24,000 tons of concrete, making a total weight of more than 88 million pounds.
For more information see the Bridge Day website http://www.officialbridgeday.com/