Tandem Basejumping in Switzerland?
by Marcel Geser (SBA)
Photo: Sean Chuma
What is tandem basejumping?
Like tandem skydiving where two people jump together out of an airplane or a helicopter, tandem basejumping is jumping together from a building, an antenna, a bridge, or a cliff.
Where did it start?
In 2009 professional basejumper Sean Chuma started to do commercial tandem basejumps from the Perrine Bridge in Idaho (United States) - together with his former partners Abbie Mashaal and Mark Kissner. Until today he has done more than a thousand basejumps with customers.
Since 2015 Italian basejumper Maurizio di Palma is offering tandem basejumps from Monte Brento at Lake Garda - after completing a course with Sean Chuma.
How dangerous is tandem basejumping?
The biggest danger of tandem basejumping are off-heading canopy openings. If the canopy opens towards the object, the passenger and the pilot could impact and get seriously injured or killed. However, from a bridge or a very overhung cliff, a tandem base-instructor could most likely correct an off-heading canopy opening and steer away from the object.
Is there tandem basejumping in Switzerland?
We have seen footage of people performing tandem basejumps in Lauterbrunnen. But we haven’t heard about anyone offering commercial tandem basejumps in Switzerland.
Is Lauterbrunnen a good place for tandem basejumping?
In our opinion, Lauterbrunnen is not a suitable place for tandem basejumps. The cliffs are not high, and they’re not overhung enough. Furthermore, we don't know any insurance company that covers for an accident in tandem basejumping: The state attorney would start an investigation which could end with a sentence for “bodily injury”. The basejumper would have to pay a huge fine or even spend some time in prison.
Photo: Sean Chuma
The Swiss Base Association (SBA) distances itself from all tandem base activities in Lauterbrunnen and Switzerland in general. According to our knowledge, there is no exit point in Switzerland where tandem basejumping could be done in a safe environment. And even if there was, as for now there is no legal protection for people who participate in a tandem basejump. An accident in tandem basejumping could not only kill the customer and his pilot, but it could also damage the reputation of our sport and endanger its future.
For all those reasons, we strongly advise everyone to not perform any tandem basejumps in Switzerland.