Jumpers take leap of faith from KL Tower

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Men and women of various nationalities hurled themselves off the KL Tower’s Sky Deck from 300m above ground level and allowed themselves to freefall before deploying the parachute and landing near the tower.

It was all part of the four-day KL Tower International Jump Malaysia (KLTIJM) BASE-jump (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) event, running until Oct 3.

Despite early morning rain and dark clouds hovering above, KLTIJM’s 17th edition was launched by Raja Muda of Selangor Tengku Amir Shah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

His Highness was also taken on a tour of the Sky Deck to observe the jumpers in action.

KL Tower chief executive officer Meor Shahril Anuar Ahmad Rathuan said they usually receive 300 applications every year and only around 110 BASE jumpers will be selected after tight screening.

“Safety is always foremost on our minds before we proceed with organising the event as the aim is to put Malaysia on the sports tourism map,” he said.

KLTIJM has become a dream destination for BASE jumpers, with this year’s event receiving 120 jumpers from 22 countries, including seven Malaysians, said Meor Shahril.

The event is organised by KL Tower with the Malaysian Anima­tion Park Studio as the main sponsor.

Meor Shahril said this year’s event would also have jumps off a crane at 312m from ground level, with a rope swing to launch the jumper into freefall.

French professional skydiver and instructor Cyprien Revaux, 30, said it was his first time at KL Tower.

“I’ve tried jumping in Sibu and Gua Damai, but here, it’s different.

“The sensation is more intense, you have more time to freefall, you get to do more things,” said Revaux, who has clocked nearly 600 BASE jumps in three years.

Brazilian military skydiver Rita Birindelli, 34, said her next jump would be her 300th, having jumped three times earlier yesterday.

“I always feel nervous before jumping. But I try to think positively by thinking about the sensation of the jump,” she said.

Australian Jake Fewster, 25, said the feeling of freedom upon stepping off the ledge was indescribable.

“Time slows down, and when the canopy opens, it’s like waking up from a dream,” he said before leaping off the tower.