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Swiss man makes biggest cliff dive ever

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Swiss man makes biggest cliff dive ever
The area of Ponte Brolla is popular with cliff divers. Photo: Irene Grassi
10:04 CEST+02:00
A Swiss man has broken the world record for cliff jumping by leaping 58.8 metres from a precipice into water in the Maggia valley in the canton of Ticino.

Brazil-born Lazaro Schaller, who grew up in Switzerland, broke the previous record of 53.9m, held by another Swiss man, Olivier Favre, since 1987.

Schaller hit the water at a speed of 120 kilometres an hour 3.5 seconds after jumping from a special platform at the cliff top, erected so that he wouldn’t hit the rock face on the way down.

“I needed to keep myself as vertical as possible,” he told newspaper 20 Minutes.

“With more space I could have even done a somersault.”

Given the water below was just eight metres deep, Schaller’s support team used divers to place oxygen bottles in the water to break the surface, reducing the impact.

The worst outcome would have been for Schaller to hit the water with his back or bottom, risking serious injury or even paralysis.

Despite his good entry position, he nevertheless tore a ligament in his knee.

“For sure, I’m going to limp a bit for a while,” he told the paper.

Previous record holder Favre wasn’t so lucky.

On his jump in 1987 he hit the water hard and fractured his spine.

Speaking to newspaper Le Matin he said: “Even for a billion francs I wouldn’t do it again.”

The Swiss canton of Ticino is a popular place for cliff jumpers and high divers.

The World High Diving Federation hosts the International Cliff Diving Championship in Ponte Brolla every year.

Watch Schaller’s record-breaking jump here:

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