For the seventh consecutive year, The Gran Hotel Bali in Benidorm is hosting the Extreme BASE Jumping championships - with 30 of the worlds top jumpers taking part.
There is a very strict application process to take part - with competitors needing to have completed a minimum of 150 BASE jumps, 10 of which must have been done in the 3 months prior to this weekends event. The two day event, started today - and there was a double drama as two of the competitors were injured, crashing into the side of the hotel!
2 BASE jumpers injured
Spanish competitor Patrick Guisasola and American Brian Shannon both needed hospital admission today - the Spaniard has been discharged with with cuts and bruises but the American is still under observation, although conscious and stable. Last year a similar incident occured with the only female contestant, Maria Steinmayr of Austria.It most definately is a dangerous sport make no mistake. This years event is to honour Alvaro Bultó and Dario Barrio, who both lost their lives while taking part in this extreme sport.
No margin for error
BASE Jumping is an acronym that stands for the four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges) and Earth (cliffs). BASE jumps are carried out lower altitudes than skydiving - whereas a skydiver may have around 3 minutes to deploy their parachute a base jumper has only around 10-15 seconds! Adrenalin junkies love the danger - there is certainly NO room for errors.
170 metre drop
The hotel is 170 metres high and the jumpers launch themselves off what looks like a diving board protruding over the edge. There is a target mat on which they aim to land - located next to the covered swimming pool. Paramedics from the Hospital Clinica Benidorm are on standby - and unfortunately, they were kept rather busy today.
More jumping tomorrow
If you missed out on todays excitement then there is more again tomorrow - but you will need to set your alarm clocks! The semi finals start at 7am then the finals at 8am - lasting until 9am. Between 4pm and 6pm there will be some jumping exhibitions - winds allowing. They had to be postponed this afternoon due to high winds so fingers crossed it will be nice and calm tomorrow.
1st place was won by Ivan Coletta of Italy; 2nd place went to Julian Deplidge of UK and 3rd place to Dan Witchall - also from the UK.