Teenager Dies Attempting Base Jump With Homemade Parachute

ukrainian boy (1)
A helmet and padding placed on the ground could not save the teenager, identified as Bogdan Firson, from the impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Bogdan Firson

A mother watched on as her 15-year-old son leapt to his death from the top of a 14-floor tower block, falsely believing that a homemade parachute would slow his fall.

The tragic incident took place in Makiivka, a city in eastern Ukraine. Video footage shows the boy, identified as Bogdan Firson, at the top of an abandoned building with his arms held aloft. He jumps from the building and as the parachute trails behind him, it fails to open. The helmet he wore and some padding placed on the ground could not save him from the impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Ukrainian website ZNAJ.

The video was reportedly uploaded onto social media and then picked up by local media outlets, according to local news site TCH.

Firson is described in news reports as an adrenaline chaser. His mother was watching from below, along with other adults and family members.

Some experts have argued that, even if Firson used a perfect parachute, he was still too low for it to function properly.

"The lowest possible height for a jump with a parachute is 70 meters—a building of at least 25 stories," the local newspaper Fakti reported. "And even then it would have been a dangerous jump."

Firson was jumping from little more than half that, at roughly 42 meters.

However, although jumping from lower heights is risky and inadvisable—soldiers prefer not to parachute out of a plane below 76 meters, according to The Guardian—there are rare instances of base jumpers successfully doing so. But it is an act where lower bases belie greater risks.

In 1999, celebrity daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from outstretched arm of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio Di Janeiro—a leap from less than 30 meters, the lowest base jump on record. His preparation and equipment will have been more sophisticated than Firson's rudimentary plan. Baumgartner calculated that the drop to the ground would take two and a half seconds, and his parachute opened with one second to spare.