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Published: Monday, 9/30/2013

Police search for 2 parachutists shown on video landing on street near World Trade Center


NEW YORK — Security videotape shows two daredevils dressed in black floating in parachutes from a height of about 40 stories before landing on a street near the World Trade Center and disappearing into the night, police said today.

Investigators were studying that video and other footage to try to identify the parachutists and determine which high-rise they used for a leap around 3 a.m. today.

Police, who didn’t release the video, suspect the pair may have pulled off a stunt similar to that of three so-called BASE jumpers who in June climbed to the top of the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, North America’s second-tallest building, before parachuting to the ground and getting away.

The New York jumpers, wearing black helmets and jumping gear, landed about two blocks from each other along West Street, near the Goldman Sach headquarters and walking distance to the World Trade Center site. They walked away from the scene without leaving a note or other evidence that would help identify them, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

One 911 caller described seeing a person walking down the street dragging a parachute.

BASE jumpers leap from high places such as buildings, cliffs or other perches, and parachute down. BASE is an acronym for their usual jump-off points: buildings, antennas, spans and earth.

Earlier this month, an avid BASE jumper died after colliding with the side of a mountain while parachuting off Mount St. Helena in northern California.

In 2006, daredevil and avid BASE jumper Jeb Corliss, who was host of the Discovery Channel program “Stunt Junkies,” donned a fat suit with a parachute hidden underneath and went up to the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck. He stripped off the disguise, put on a helmet with a video camera and scaled a fence, but security guards grabbed him before he could jump.

Corliss was convicted of reckless endangerment and was sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service. He told the jury he didn’t “think there was anything wrong with what I do” and he believed BASE jumping should be a right.

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