BASE jumping is considered by many to be the world's most dangerous sport. The name is an acronym for the four surfaces that participants can alight from: building, antenna, span (bridge), and earth (cliff). Some trace the inaugural BASE jump to tailor Franz Reichelt, who died in 1912 while hopping from the Eiffel Tower to test his invention, the coat parachute.
We're most intrigued by launching oneself from buildings (and maybe antennae, and we suppose bridges, too), all four options offer spectacular views that would otherwise be unattainable. Otherwise, audiences seeking perilous perspectives must rely on the stomach-churning spirals of wide-angle and fisheye lens photographs. But beyond the visual joys of BASE jumping, there's the undeniable appeal of its potential for trouble making in the form of trespassing.
A group of three men—plus a lookout man—have released a video of themselves jumping off New York City's World Trade Center in September 2013. It depicts the helmet cam-view of one of the men, at night, free-falling from the 1,776-foot-tall building and landing in what appears to be the traffic of Manhattan's Westside Highway (which is absolutely terrifying). The NYPD arrested the men, who were charged with third-degree burglary, second-degree reckless endangerment, and jumping from a structure.
This WTC stunt is not the first of its kind, and New York City officials do not take these events lightly, especially in the post-9/11 era. Case in point: In 2006, Jeb "The Human Bird" Corliss was thwarted from trying to jump off the Empire State Building. He was nearly sent to prison, but narrowly avoided intense time locked up at Rikers Island.
It didn't stop him though. Corliss not only continues to jump off buildings; he also flies off of them in a wingsuit. You can catch him gliding from such sites as the Petronas Towers, the Golden Gate Bridge, and that enduringly enchanting Eiffel Tower.
Here are some of our favorite base jumps off of buildings.
In 2010, two BBC News BASE Jumpers jumped off the world's tallest building, Dubai's Burj Khalifa, which is over 2,000-feet-tall. They reached speeds of 136 miles-per-hour.
Felix Baumgartner jumped off Mexico City's tallest skyscraper, the 738-feet-high Torre Mayor in 2008. Baumgartner is also the first person to break the speed of sound by free falling from the stratosphere.
Baumgartner BASE jumped off the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2012.
See more base jumps at Architizer.