The Straits Times
Published on Oct 24, 2012

Space daredevil Baumgartner is 'officially retired'


UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Felix Baumgartner, the first man to break the sound barrier in freefall, says he is giving up being a daredevil but now aims to help others in trouble.

"I am officially retired from the daredevil business now," the 43-year-old Austrian told UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in a meeting Tuesday to discuss his death-defying jump from the edge of space earlier this month.

Mr Ban told Mr Baumgartner how he had joined the millions who watched live coverage of the jump from 39km above New Mexico when the Austrian reached a claimed top speed of 1,342kmh, 1.24 times the speed of sound.

"I thought my heart would stop," the UN leader said, hailing Mr Baumgartner as "the most courageous person in the world." "We talked about what I accomplished on October 14 and about future plans, how to inspire young people and women," Mr Baumgartner told AFP after his meeting with Mr Ban. He said he was ready to get involved in a United Nations initiative.