BASE Jumpers Reflect on Bridge Day Experience

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Whether you watched Bridge Day in person or through video, odds are you’re tried to put yourself in the shoes of the BASE jumper, maybe thinking about how crazy they are are or admiring them, possibly even thinking about doing it yourself. Well, Newswatch wanted to get the perspective from the jumpers themselves. 

“I think it’s after you pull the chute,” first-time Bridge Day jumper, Brittany Zale said. “After you pull, that’s like time slows down and you’re like, ‘Is it going to come out? Am I about to die? Like, where’s my parachute?'”

But once the parachute releases, the feeling shifts. 

“I felt like I’m born again because when you’re flying, you’re suspended,” Roman Braginskiy, a 12-year Bridge Day participant, said. “I experience the birth again” 

And while they’re up top, the jumpers say there isn’t much thinking, just following through with procedure focusing on the jump, the release, and of course, the landing. 

“Usually with BASE  you sink it in,” Zale said. ” So you get over to where you want it to be and you kind of try to come straight down, but that means you don’t have as much power for your flare, but it means you’re getting it to where you need to be. 

For those who want to give it a try without having the 100 jumps required to go alone, you have the option to ride tandem. Karen Walter, a former skydiver, saw this as a perfect opportunity after battling years of illnesses and injuries. 

“Two comas. Coded three times. I lost my hip. I broke my leg. I broke my other hip, so I’ve been really sick the past three years – or five years so just this past year l was well enough to do it,” Walter said.

For some, BASE jumping is about chasing that adrenaline rush, the indescribable feeling of falling and parachuting 876 feet. However for Walter, it’s about taking her life back. 

“You don’t know when your number’s up so do what you want to while you can. Have a happy life,” Walter said.  

Around 306 base jumpers were registered to jump on Bridge Day.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at