Stormwatch

Daredevils realize dream at 34th Bridge Day

Local - 10/19/2013 10:06 AM by Joe Hellriegel
FAYETTEVILLE - Saturday marks the 34th Bridge Day at the New River Gorge Bridge and crowds gathered to watch daredevils throw themselves over the ledge.

"I'm really excited, scared, nervous right now, but really excited."

Lonnie Bissonnette's emotions are running high for Bridge Day where base jumpers jump, or get catapulted off the New River Gorge Bridge for that rush of adrenaline. But it's different for Lonnie because he is a paraplegic.

"With the wheel chair, it's a lot more challenging I got a lot more things I have to worry about, a lot of extra stops so it's more intense," said the Canadian base jumper.

He's not the only jumper with a challenge, Jarrett Martin also can't use his legs, but jumps without his wheelchair.

"I just kind of do my thing and if people get inspiration off it, you know it's double good cause for me you know one for doing it, one for inspiration and it's really for everybody. You have to put in your hard work and your time and you can make anything happen," said Martin.

It's the landing for Lonnie and Jarrett that make it different than all the rest.

"Landings can be rough but I made some modifications to this chair so hopefully that's going to solve that and hopefully we'll get a really nice landing this year," said Bissonnette.

"Like on landing I'll jump without my chair, I'll leave my chair on the bridge and how I kind of come in is just kind of do what's called a parachute landing fall, or a PLF and I just kind of roll on my feet and kind of my side and it's pretty graceful considering," said Martin.

Lonnie and Jarrett are an inspiration to people across the world, including Red Bull adrenaline junkies.

"People with spinal cord injuries, they are not limited anymore you know, it's a brave new world and they are just getting after it on every single level," said Red Bull athlete Chris Santacroce.

Then it's time for the jump, and the landing, which were both successful.


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