Flying Frenchman charged for illegal base jump in Sydney

A BASE jumper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (AFP pic)

SYDNEY: A French national claiming to be a former legionnaire leapt from a Sydney crane and parachuted over early morning commuters in a pre-dawn base jump, police said Tuesday, describing the stunt as reckless.

Police said they arrested the 24-year-old man who broke into a construction site and scaled 250 metres (820 feet) of the crane, before jumping at around 3.15am (1715 GMT Monday) and sailing over traffic in the city hotspot of Darling Harbour with a faulty parachute.

He was charged with breaking into the site and posing a risk to public safety.

“I didn’t want to make trouble for anybody,” the man identified as Jonathan Perherin told commercial television broadcaster Channel Ten.

“I know it’s forbidden, but I don’t regret because… I’m alive,” he said.

Perherin, who said he was a member of the French Foreign Legion, said that there were no issues with his parachute and no traffic at that early hour.

But police said the parachute was showing signs of tears when they arrested him as he landed at the harbour.

“The fact was his equipment was faulty, he put himself and others in danger and he could have easily killed himself or others,” New South Wales Police Superintendent Mark Fitzgerald told reporters.

“The danger is unbelievable. The margin for error is only a matter of seconds,” Fitzgerald added.

The Frenchman, who was released on bail and will return to court later this month, said he would do it again, just not in Sydney.