TWIN FALLS, Idaho (WANE) – A Fort Wayne native and Carroll High School graduate is in critical condition after a BASE jumping accident in Idaho Monday evening.
According to the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department, authorities were called around 5:15 p.m. to the Perrine Bridge over the Snake River Canyon after two BASE jumpers were injured in a fall.
22-year-old Austin Carey from Fort Wayne was jumping with a Utah man, 24-year-old James Rawe.
Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Lori Stewart said Rawe was standing on Carey’s shoulders preparing to jump from the bridge when Carey lost his balance. Both men fell but Carey was able to deploy his parachute. During the fall, Rawe somehow became entangled in Carey’s parachute.
Stewart said investigators do not know if Rawe was able to deploy his own parachute.
Rawe was taken by boat to a nearby dock where he was then transported to a hospital. He was listed in fair condition Tuesday evening, according to Stewart.
Carey was airlifted to Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise with undisclosed injuries. Hospital officials said Tuesday night Carey was in critical condition, but could not elaborate on his injuries due to privacy laws.
Stewart said by phone Tuesday night authorities in Twin Falls have not been able to identify Carey as being from Fort Wayne because they have not been able to speak with him. But they have been able to confirm his name through other people he was with.
Daniel Olivarez, a friend of Carey’s, said early Wednesday morning that Carey was vacationing with friends in Idaho. Olivarez said Carey is an enthusiast for BASE jumping and skydiving and had been pursuing the extreme sports for awhile. Carey’s Facebook and Instagram accounts have dozens of photos of jumps from all over the country.
Carey posted on his Instagram account Sunday a self-made video of him jumping from the Perrine Bridge.
According to Visit Idaho, the Perrine Bridge is a popular destination for jumpers from all over the world. It’s a truss arch bridge that carries U.S. 93 approximately 500 feet above the Snake River. Dozens of online videos have been posted of jumpers performing various stunts and tricks from the bridge deck.
Jumps from the bridge became popular after a 1974 canyon jump near the bridge by stuntman Evel Knievel, according to Visit Idaho. An Evel Knievel Jump Monument sits to the south of the bridge near a visitor’s center.
BASE jumping is a sport involving a parachute and jumping from stationary objects. BASE is an acronym that stands for building, antenna, span, and Earth.
The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department said in the last five years at least nine incidents have been reported to police after jumps from the bridge. At least one person died in 2011 from injuries after his parachute failed to fully open. A second person died from hypothermia after jumping at night and was unable to find his way out of the canyon.
The Twin Falls Sheriff’s Department is still investigating the incident involving Carey and Rawe.