British wingsuit expert dies during jump in KSA

Saudi Civil Defense Rescue teams located Grubisic’s body and carried him about 100 meters across rocky slopes to a helicopter that transported him to Asir Hospital. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 29 August 2019

British wingsuit expert dies during jump in KSA

  • Grubisic led a wingsuit-design team at the University of Southampton and was crowned a British wingsuit champion during a competition at Dunkeswell Airfield in Devon in July

JEDDAH: A British wingsuit scientist and champion was killed during a jump in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Dr. Angelo Grubisic crashed on a mountainside during an event in the Asir region that was part of Al-Soudah Season.
The 38-year-old extreme sports expert was an astronautical engineer who had worked for NASA and the European Space Agency before becoming a lecturer of astronautics at the University of Southampton, where he was involved in work to develop safer and better-performing wingsuits.
Saudi Civil Defense rescue teams in the province of Rijal Almaa raised the alarm at 11:47 a.m. on Wednesday, alerting authorities that a wingsuit BASE jumper had crashed in a mountainous area. Rescue teams located Grubisic’s body and carried him about 100 meters across rocky slopes to a helicopter that transported him to Asir Hospital.
Extreme Sports Company facilitated Dr. Grubisic's participation in the event.
A helicopter flew Grubisic and four other wingsuit base jumpers — from Norway, France, Italy and Australia — to the jump point. Initial reports suggested Grubisic experienced difficulties as soon as he jumped and began his flight to the landing site at the cable car station in Rijal Alma. As he reached speeds of about 100 miles per hour he appeared to misjudge his height. His body was found about 25 kilometers from the take-off position.
The British Embassy in Riyadh thanked the authorities in the region for their efforts during the rescue operation and for helping Grubisic’s family travel to the Kingdom and make arrangements to take his body home.
Grubisic led a wingsuit-design team at the University of Southampton and was crowned a British wingsuit champion during a competition at Dunkeswell Airfield in Devon in July.
His family described him as “phenomenally talented.” They added: “Angelo lost his life doing what he loved the most, wingsuit BASE jumping, and we want to ensure his achievements and ambitions are known to the world, and to celebrate the mark he made on all of our lives.
“Angelo captivated the hearts and minds of every single person who was privileged to meet and work with him. ‘The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long’ has never rung more true to the family and friends Angelo had across the world.”
The University of Southampton said: “We are extremely saddened and shocked by the death of Angelo and our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.
“Angelo made many pioneering contributions to the University’s research into astronautics and was incredibly popular with his students and colleagues.”
Wingsuit jumpers wear a suit that has extra fabric between the legs and under the arms. This allows them to glide great distances after jumping from an aircraft or from a jump point, increasing their time in the air before deploying a parachute. BASE jumping involved parachuting or wingsuit flying from from fixed points or objects. BASE is an acronym for building, antenna, span (such as a bridge) and earth (such as a cliff or mountainside).


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 49 min 5 sec ago

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.