• Switzerland's news in English
Swiss wingsuit hotspot won’t impose ban

Swiss wingsuit hotspot won’t impose ban

The Local · 13 Oct 2016, 12:08

Published: 13 Oct 2016 12:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

With its sheer cliffs, in recent years the Swiss valley of Lauterbrunnen has become internationally-renowned for the daredevil sport, which involves basejumping from mountains wearing a so-called wingsuit which allows the wearer to ‘fly’ through the air until finally opening a parachute.

Regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous sports, it regularly claims lives in Lauterbrunnen, including four this year.

In August a Briton and an Italian plunged to their deaths in the resort, one of whom was filming a video for action camera manufacturer GoPro.

And earlier that month an American had to be rescued in a complicated 13-hour overnight operation after crashing into cliffs and breaking his legs.

But authorities in Lauterbrunnen see no need to ban the sport at present.

Speaking to Le Matin on Wednesday, the commune’s president Martin Stäger said there was no legal basis to ban the sport, and even if there was, they don’t want to impose a ban.

“We don’t want to do it, or we’d also have to ban climbing and hiking,” he said. “Each person has to decide for himself if he wants to do this sport and should know his own limits.”

Chamonix’s mayor, Eric Fournier, said he announced the ban out of fear for the safety of people in the town, after a Russian wingsuit flyer crashed into a chalet.

But Michi Schwery, president of the Swiss Base Association (SBA), told the paper there have never been any “collateral” victims in Lauterbrunnen. One particular area of the commune where there are too many tourists is already off limits to basejumpers, he added.

“At the beginning, in 1994, we counted between 200 and 500 jumps a year. Now, in 2016, we have 20,000 a year. Many more jumps but no more accidents,” he said.

“The most important thing is to understand that you take the risk yourself and only for yourself.”

Story continues below…

Get an idea of what it's like to go wingsuit flying in Lauterbrunnen, watch this video.



For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Protect Swiss waterways or lose our fish': WWF
Photo: Richi Stadelmann/WWF

Eighty-five percent of fish species in Switzerland are under threat, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

SBB pilots new annual pass – costing 12,200 francs
The 'door-to-door' pass includes use of an electric car. Photo: SBB

Swiss federal railways (SBB) is looking for 100 people willing to pilot a new annual transport pass that includes use of an electric car.

Immigration to Switzerland falls as emigration rises
File photo: The Local

Immigration in Switzerland has fallen considerably this year, according to official figures.

Wawrinka aces his way into Basel quarterfinals
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The home favourite returns to the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors for the first time in five years.

Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available