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BASE jumpers injured in botched leap from Idaho bridge

The pair fell from the bridge railing, became entangled and fell spinning to the ground, drawing a rescue operation and a crowd of onlookers

The Times-News

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Two BASE jumpers were injured Monday evening after a jump from the Perrine Bridge went wrong.

Austin Carey, 22, was taken to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. He was in serious condition Tuesday afternoon. His hometown is unknown, said Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lori Stewart.

James E. Rawe, 24, of Draper, Utah, was listed in fair condition 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at St. Luke's Magic Valley Medical Center.

Twin Falls Police Department and Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office responded to the call, which came in about 5:15 p.m. Monday.

Preparing to jump from a Perrine Bridge railing, Rawe stood on Carey's shoulders when Carey lost balance and they both fell. Rawe became entangled in Carey's chute. It's unknown whether Rawe’s chute deployed, Stewart said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

Rawe was taken by boat to the dock at Centennial Park and transported by ground to St. Luke’s.

Monday, a crowd of spectators on the Snake River Canyon rim grew to watch the rescue.

Eyewitnesses Regan Harr and Morgan Olson said they watched the two jumpers practice on a bridge railing and later watched the jump.

After the jumpers went over the side, the jumper who was on top hit his legs on the railing, which sent both into a spin, Olson said.

Harr said the top jumper hit the bottom jumper's chute in the air, and they fell spinning to the ground. They landed near the river but not in the water.

By 5:45 p.m. air ambulance and Search and Rescue boats were on the scene.

One jumper had been loaded into a search and rescue boat, taken to the park docks and loaded into an ambulance by 6:10 p.m. A helicopter took off with the second jumper at 6:20 p.m.

The accident came hours after Zion National Park officials in Moab, Utah said they found the body of a missing BASE jumper, marking the third death in two months by adventurers attempting to parachute off of Utah cliffs. The body was spotted by helicopter Sunday afternoon. It's unclear when the jumper went missing.

BASE jumping, which involves jumping with a parachute from buildings, bridges and other towering features, is illegal in Zion National Park. BASE jumping from the Perrine Bridge is legal.

In early February, 28-year-old Amber Bellows of Salt Lake City died in Zions park when her parachute failed to open. On Friday, 35-year-old Kevin A. Morroun of Moab died jumping from a cliff west of Moab.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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