TERREBONNE, Ore. - (Update: Base jumper says there's no place to land at bottom of canyon)
Several agencies worked together at the footbridge over the Crooked River Gorge Monday morning,to treat and rescue a BASE jumper who suffered a broken leg in an illegal jump from the 300-foot-high span and was later cited, Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said.
Crews responded shortly after 5 a.m. to the injured person below the footbridge, also known as the High Bridge, the older of two bridges that span the 300-foot-deep gorge, said Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper.
The man sustained non-life-threatening injuries after attempting to BASE jump from the footbridge, Cooper said.
Jefferson County sheriff's Deputy Josh Roth said the BASE jumper, a 26-year-old New Zealand man, is an accomplished base jumper who was on his 170th jump.
But it apparently was an illegal jump, without permission from State Parks, the deputy said.
Undersheriff Marc Heckathorn said the man jumped off the High Bridge with a parachute and broke his leg when he landed, then had a friend call 911 for help.
"Base jumping off the High Bridge is illegal and dangerous," Heckathorn said.
Adkins identified the BASE jumper as Isaac Nutira, 26, originally from New Zealand. He said Nutira was cited for BASE jumping without written permission, a level of offense that carries a $110 fine.
"We probably won't go after reimbursement" for rescue costs, the sheriff added.
Other BASE jumpers told NewsChannel 21 it's safe to jump from a 300-foot height and that it takes far more than 170 jumps to be considered an expert in the sport.
BASE jumper James Scott, the owner of Central Oregon Bungee Adventures, said the bottom of the canyon is not safe for landing,
"There's no landing down there. It's hard not to break your ankle walking around." he said.
"It's hard to see from the bridge, but once you get down there, you realize there is no possible way to land a parachute." he added.
Word came around 8:30 a.m. that the Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue high-angle rope rescue team had lifted the injured jumper out of the gorge, to the bridge above, and placed him in a waiting ambulance.
Crews on hand to provide medical care and help in the rescue operation included Redmond Fire and Rescue, Jefferson and Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies, Jefferson County Fire District. No. 1, Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue, Oregon State Parks and Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.
BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) jumping involves leaps from fixed objects with parachutes designed for rapid deployment, and is known to many around the world as the most extreme of extreme sports.
Scott also said he worried the rescued jumper would give BASE jumping a bad name, "It's disrespectful to the local people, to the parks, to the base jumping community."