Base jumper smashes into cliff and tumbles 180ft after parachute spins unexpectedly

‘I was very lucky,’ says Sam Percival. ‘It felt like being in a washing machine filled with boulders’

Peter Stubley
Sunday 22 September 2019 18:34
Base jumper tumbles 180ft and smashes into cliffs as parachute spins round unexpectedly

A base jumper miraculously survived a 180ft fall after his parachute span round and slammed him into a cliff face.

Sam Percival, 35, was caught by a gust of wind after he leapt off a 3,300ft-high peak in the Scottish Highlands.

Video footage of the jump shows him colliding with the mountainside, causing his parachute to partially deflate.

He then tumbled down the rocks into a gully and landed on a ledge – but escaped with only a few sprains, cuts and bruises.

“I don’t know of anyone falling the distance I have, and coming away with a few scratches,” said Mr Percival, an outdoor instructor from Lancashire who lives in Aviemore.

“I was very, very lucky to survive. People keep saying I should buy a lottery ticket, but I think I have already used up all my luck for this year at least.”

Mr Percival said he was attempting to become the first person to jump off Lord Berkeley’s Seat on the An Teallach mountain.

He admitted the winds were ”a bit too high” but decided to go ahead with the jump on Thursday.

“It felt like being in a washing machine filled with boulders,” he explained.

“I struck the cliff at about 30mph. I tried to get hold of a ledge but I kept accelerating towards the floor of the gully.

“Next I hit the bottom of the gully, 180ft from where I struck the cliff. I was underneath a pile of boulders that had come down with me.

“My clothes were in shreds. At first I thought that adrenaline must be masking something, but I managed to get to my feet and basically all I have is a sprained ankle and wrist.

After seeing him fall into the gully, his friends called 999 to alert the Dundonnell Mountain Rescue Team.

One of his friends jumped after him, while the other climbed down to join Mr Percival, who managed to climb up to the main ridge.

A few hours later they were airlifted to the foot of the mountain by the Inverness Coastguard helicopter.

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“This is the first time we’ve been called out to a base-jumping incident,” said rescue team leader Donald Macrae.

“To say this young man is lucky to be alive is something of an understatement. He must have a guardian angel.

“He came very close indeed to a long vertical drop which he would not have survived.”

Additional reporting by SWNS

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