American daredevil Johnny Strange, 23, dies during wingsuit jump in Swiss Alps

Johnny Strange before another jump in Switzerland on Monday, Sept 28, 2015.
Johnny Strange before another jump in Switzerland on Monday, Sept 28, 2015.PHOTO: STRANGEWORLD01/YOUTUBE

GENEVA (AFP) - The American daredevil Johnny Strange has died in the Swiss Alps while attempting a wingsuit jump, the latest casualty in what is regarded as one the most dangerous extreme sports, the authorities said on Friday (Oct 2).

Mr Strange, 23, had found fame at age 17 when he became the youngest person to climb the so-called Seven Summits, referring to the highest peak on each continent.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Strange jumped from a 2,000m summit in the Swiss canton of Uri wearing a wingsuit, a piece of equipment that resembles human-size bat wings.

He crashed into the ground, likely after losing control mid-jump, the authorities in Uri said.

Police said he made the jump shortly after 12pm local time when conditions were reportedly windy, adding that a further investigation would be launched.

The average wingsuit jump lasts barely a minute and within eight seconds, the jumper reaches speeds of 200kmh.

Aside from Mr Strange, perhaps the most prominent wingsuit-related casualty was the August 2013 death of Mr Mark Sutton, the James Bond parachutist from the opening ceremony at the London Olympics.

The films released by jumpers with GoPro cameras attached to their heads are almost impossible to watch, with the jumpers seemingly having no control as they descend at extraordinary speeds, often slipping through narrow mountain passages.

But enthusiasts say the focus on danger and death undermines the incredible skill and preparation required of a successful jump.