Parachuting: Help! I Need Attention!

Outside magazine, October 1994

Parachuting: Help! I Need Attention!
By Todd Balf (with Greg Child and Dan Dickison)

When and if the law catches up with BASE jumping's most wanted man, John Vincent, it won't be pretty. Unrepentant and obviously unrehabilitated, Vincent last June walked out of federal prison in Florida, where he'd served a six-month sentence for climbing the St. Louis Arch using suction cups and then parachuting off. He surfaced a few days later, high atop New York's George Washington bridge at sunrise. It was Vincent's second appearance in Manhattan, having successfully BASE-jumped one of the Twin Towers in 1991. At the southeast pillar, he ascended through a maintenance elevator shaft and traversed a catwalk more than 100 feet above the roadway to get into position. Then , with the wind at his back, he jumped. One and a half seconds later, his parachute opened and he glided to an exquisite landing on the banks of the Hudson. He promptly disappeared, lest he be thrown back in the slammer. "There are many, many BASE jumpers who are low-profile and only jump at authorized sites," says Jean Boenish, a director of the U.S. BASE Association, "and there are some who just have to be known. John is more of that type."

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