Adventure

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."

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
More Adventure