Thor Alex Kappfjell was a Norwegian offshore oil worker and BASE jumper. He is famous for parachuting from the observation deck of the World Trade Center's South tower in 1999. Previously, he had jumped from the 86th floor of the observation deck of the Empire State Building and the 61st floor of the Chrysler Building (on October 24 and 27, 1998 respectively). Kappfjell claimed to have jumped more than 200 mountains and buildings (radio/television masts, bridges, the Eiffel Tower, etc.) in his daredevil career.
BASE jumping, also sometimes written as B.A.S.E. jumping, is parachuting or wingsuit flying from a fixed structure or cliff. "BASE" is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: building, antenna, span, and earth (cliff). Due to the lower altitudes of the jumps, BASE jumping is significantly more dangerous than skydiving from a plane. In the U.S., BASE jumping is currently regarded by many as a fringe extreme sport or stunt.
The original World Trade Center was a large complex of seven buildings in Lower Manhattan, New York City, United States. It featured the landmark Twin Towers, which opened on April 4, 1973 and were destroyed in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. At the time of their completion, the Twin Towers — the original 1 World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet (417 m); and 2 World Trade Center, at 1,362 feet (415.1 m) — were the tallest buildings in the world. Other buildings in the complex included the Marriott World Trade Center, 4 WTC, 5 WTC, 6 WTC, and 7 WTC. The complex was located in New York City's Financial District and contained 13,400,000 square feet (1,240,000 m2) of office space.
The Empire State Building is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon and completed in 1931, the building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna. Its name is derived from "Empire State", the nickname of New York, which is of unknown origin. As of 2019 the building is the 5th-tallest completed skyscraper in the United States and the 28th-tallest in the world. It is also the 6th-tallest freestanding structure in the Americas. The Empire State Building stood as the world's tallest building for nearly 40 years until the completion of the World Trade Center's North Tower in Lower Manhattan in late 1970. Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was again the tallest building in New York until the new One World Trade Center was completed in April 2012.
On March 25, 1999, Kappfjell ignored threats from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir and was able to get past the heightened post-bombing-of-1993 security and make his way up the South tower. Kappfjell later on claimed that he used a disguise, but wouldn't go into more detail about how he gave security the slip.
Howard Safir was New York City Fire Commissioner from 1994 to 1996 and New York City Police Commissioner from 1996 to 2000.
Kappfjell landed on West Street in a small construction area between the north and southbound lanes. Without pausing (except to snap some photos), he packed his parachute away and disappeared into the World Financial Center. On March 26, along with his cousin and photographer, he was arrested in his midtown hotel room. He was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespassing while his accomplices were charged with obstructing government administration.
Brookfield Place, built as and still commonly referred to as the World Financial Center, is a shopping center and office-building complex located across West Street from the World Trade Center in the Battery Park City neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Overlooking the Hudson River, Brookfield Place has been home to offices of various companies including Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Nomura Group, American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, Time Inc. and Brookfield Asset Management, among others. In 2014, the complex was given its current name following the completion of extensive renovations.
Kappfjell later filed a $2.25 million lawsuit against "Extra", the syndicated television show, seeking damages for breach of contract and fraud. Kappfjell told The New York Post that he was planning to leave the city immediately after the jump, but Barry Levine ("Extra"'s managing editor), had told him to wait until the next morning to be paid for footage of the WTC jump. (He had sold videos of previous jumps to the show.) But, to Kappfjell's surprise, the "Extra" film crew showed up, along with the police the next morning, and Levine was nowhere to be seen.
Extra is an American syndicated television newsmagazine that is distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution and premiered on September 5, 1994. The program serves as a straight rundown of news headlines and gossip throughout the entertainment industry, providing coverage of events and celebrities; however, since 2013, it has also placed an even greater emphasis on interviews and insider previews of upcoming film and television projects. As of 2017, the program's weekday broadcasts are currently anchored by Mario Lopez, Renee Bargh and Tanika Ray; its weekend editions are co-anchored by Lopez and Bargh.
The New York Post is a daily newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com, the entertainment site Decider.com, and co-produces the television show Page Six TV.
On July 5, 1999, Kappfjell was killed in a jump off Kjerag mountain in Norway. Having lost his bearings in the night fog, he crashed into the side of the mountain. His body was found at the base of the cliff, parachute open. Fellow jumpers suspected that he hit the face of the cliff and slid down. He was 32 years old.
Kjerag or Kiragg is a mountain in Forsand municipality in Rogaland county, Norway. The 1,110-metre (3,640 ft) tall mountain sits on the southern shore of the Lysefjorden, just southwest of the village of Lysebotn. Its northern side is a massive cliff, plunging 984 metres (3,228 ft) almost straight down into the Lysefjorden, a sight which attracts many visitors each year. Another tourist attraction, the Kjeragbolten, a 5-cubic-metre (180 cu ft) stone wedged between two rocks is located on the mountain. The Kjeragfossen waterfall plunges off the mountain down to the fjord. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in the world.
Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
The Petronas Towers, also known as the Petronas Twin Towers, are twin skyscrapers. According to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)'s official definition and ranking, they were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998 to 2004 and remain the tallest twin towers in the world. The buildings are a landmark of Kuala Lumpur, along with nearby Kuala Lumpur Tower.
The Columbia Center, formerly named the Bank of America Tower and Columbia Seafirst Center, is a skyscraper in downtown Seattle, Washington. The 76-story structure is the tallest building in Seattle and the state of Washington, reaching a height of 933 ft (284 m). At the time of its completion, the Columbia Center was the tallest structure on the West Coast; as of 2017, it is the fourth-tallest, behind buildings in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Shanghai World Financial Center is a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai. It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and developed by the Mori Building Company, with Leslie E. Robertson Associates as its structural engineer and China State Construction Engineering Corp and Shanghai Construction (Group) General Co. as its main contractor. It is a mixed-use skyscraper, consisting of offices, hotels, conference rooms, observation decks, and ground-floor shopping malls. Park Hyatt Shanghai is the tower's hotel component, comprising 174 rooms and suites occupying the 79th to the 93rd floors, which at the time of completion was the highest hotel in the world. It is now the third-highest hotel in the world after the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, which occupies floors 102 to 118 of the International Commerce Centre.
Terminal Tower is a 52-story, 235 m (771 ft), landmark skyscraper located on Public Square in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Built during the skyscraper boom of the 1920s and 1930s, it was the second-tallest building in the world when it was completed. Terminal Tower stood as the tallest building in North America outside of New York City from its completion in 1930 until 1964. It was the tallest building in the state of Ohio until the completion of Key Tower in 1991, and remains the second-tallest building in the state. The building is part of the Tower City Center mixed-use development, and its major tenants include Forest City Enterprises, former owner of the building, which maintained its corporate headquarters there until 2018, and Riverside Company.
The Burj Khalifa, known as the Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration in 2010, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft) and a roof height of 828 m (2,717 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in late 2008.
A jumper, in police and media parlance, is a person who plans to fall or jump from a potentially deadly height, sometimes with the intention to commit suicide, at other times to escape conditions inside.
An observation tower is a structure used to view events from a long distance and to create a full 360 degree range of vision to conduct the long distance observations. They are usually at least 20 metres (65.6 ft) tall and made from stone, iron, and wood. Many modern towers are also used as TV towers, restaurants, or churches. The towers first appeared in Germany at the end of the 18th century, and their numbers steadily increased, especially after the invention of the lift.
The I. B. Perrine Bridge is four-lane truss arch span in the western United States. Located at Twin Falls, Idaho, it carries U.S. Highway 93 over the Snake River Canyon, connecting to Jerome County and Interstate 84.
One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. The supertall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. The building is bounded by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.
The Parachute Jump is a defunct amusement ride in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City. Its open-frame steel structure, measuring 250 feet (76 m) tall and weighing 170 tons (150 tonnes), has been called the "Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn".
Roland Simpson was a BASE jumper with over 1,000 jumps. He was born in Australia in 1969. He was a qualified tandem master and a wingsuit instructor. He became the US national exit style champion in 1998, and the US national champion in 1999.
Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert are considered among the first fixed object jumpers.
Felix Baumgartner is an Austrian skydiver, daredevil, and BASE jumper. He is best known for jumping to Earth from a helium balloon in the stratosphere on 14 October 2012. Doing so, he set world records for skydiving an estimated 39 km (24 mi), reaching an estimated top speed of 1,357.64 km/h (843.6 mph), or Mach 1.25. He became the first person to break the sound barrier without vehicular power relative to the surface on his descent. He broke skydiving records for exit altitude, vertical freefall distance without drogue, and vertical speed without drogue. Though he still holds the two latter records, the first was broken two years later, when on 24 October 2014, Alan Eustace jumped from 135,890 feet—or, 41.42 km (25.74 mi) with a drogue.
Jeb Corliss is an American professional skydiver and BASE jumper. He has jumped from sites including Paris' Eiffel Tower, Seattle's Space Needle, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He lives in Venice, California.
Owen J. Quinn is an American man who was the first person to successfully parachute off one of the World Trade Center towers. He did this on July 22, 1975.
Gary Connery is a British skydiver, BASE jumper, and professional stuntman. Connery has performed stunt-work in films. He has also acted as the stunt-double for Gary Oldman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rowan Atkinson, and John Hurt. He is acknowledged as the first skydiver to land after a wingsuit jump without using a parachute. He made his first parachute jump at age 23, as part of his army training.
Giovanni Carta, also known as John Carta, was an Italian American airman and parachutist, veteran of the Vietnam War.