Pregnant base jumper is killed after parachute fails to open


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The Independent Online

A pregnant woman who loved base jumping plunged to her death as she took one final jump before giving birth.

Swedish-born Wioletta Roslan, 37, failed to open her parachute after she leapt from an outcrop in the Swiss Alps. Her partner, Aleksander Domalewski, jumped with her and was watching as she died.

With a sheer drop of over 300 metres, the spot near Stechelberg in Switzerland was Ms Roslan's favourite base jumping spot, and she had completed the jump many times before. After three people had already made their jumps, she and Mr Domalewski reportedly jumped together, but she was unable to get her parachute to open.

"He told me that she desperately tried to get her parachute to open without success," Ms Roslan's mother, Halina Zaniewska-Pettersson, told Swedish media.

"It did not open and in the last moment she realised she was not going to succeed. He told me that she had simply spread her arms and waited for the impact." Ms Roslan died instantly. A video purporting to show the moment that she jumped from the rock has surfaced on YouTube, though it is unclear whether the footage is genuine.

Base jumping stands for Buildings, Antennas, Spans and Earth, and involves jumping from a stationary point with a parachute.

There is much less time for parachutes to open than with skydiving from a plane, and the sport is considered far more dangerous.

Ms Roslan was known to her friends as a base enthusiast who was obsessive about the high-risk sport.

She had travelled across the world to jump in different locations, and had previously spent two years living in the area where she died to ensure she could jump as often as possible.

She was four months' pregnant and had wanted one last jump before she became too heavily pregnant to jump. Ms Zaniewska-Pettersson said that she had pleaded with her daughter not to continue jumping after she became pregnant, but that she was insistent. "I feel alive when I jump. I find normal life boring," she said in a television interview four years ago.

"I know that death always flies with me but we only have a certain amount of time on the Earth. When the sun goes down, then it's game over whoever you are."