Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 17, 2010 - 3:50 pm

Base-jumping Aussie tourist dies near Clyde River

Dead daredevil leaves four-month-old child

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Updated May 18, 1:15 p.m.

An Australian man died earlier this month while base-jumping from a cliff in the Sam Ford Fiord area near Clyde River.

Jim Mitchell was a member of a group that drew 23 tourists from five countries to jump from the high cliffs of Baffin Island with kites and parachutes strapped to their backs.

Mitchell, a 34-year-old engineer, leaves a wife and a four-month-old child.

Base jumping is a form of low-altitude skydiving from high buildings, bridges and cliffs. The word derives from the acronym “BASE,” which stands for “Buildings, Antennas, Spans, Earth,” the four types of heights from which base jumpers make their leaps.

Collin Scott, the leader of the tour group, declined an interview request.

“On the evening of May 8th, our dear friend Jim Mitchell was killed on a jump on Baffin Island,” reads the most recent entry on the group’s blog dated May 17. “Out of respect for his family and friends, we will not be making a public statement or releasing any details at this time. Family and friends request that their privacy be respected and that they not be contacted for any information.”

The previous blog entry is dated May 8 and says Mitchell was one of several group members who climbed up Kiguti Peak that day, intending to jump.

But high winds forced most of members — including Mitchell — to back away from jumping.

Previous blog entries said members of the group made successful jumps from cliffs along Sam Ford Fiord.

An RCMP press release says the Clyde River detachment got the call the morning of May 9, but the tour group’s members and the community’s volunteers have been unable to locate Mitchell’s body amid the rugged and dangerous terrain.

Police do not suspect foul play.

The tour group’s website reports the group set out from Clyde River by snowmobile on April 15 and jumped whenever the weather was suitable.

Mitchell’s profile on the group’s website states that he was an experienced base jumper, having made more than 650 jumps.

“I have jumped in 15 different countries from some of the most spectacular places there are to jump on the planet,” Mitchell wrote.

You can find the tour group’s web site at: http://www.baffinbase.com.

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