So I’m late, but better late than never. .. The Shard Building had no sooner been completed than somebody BASEjumped off it. Of course, it was the new ultimate challenge. The new tallest building in Europe. It would only have been a matter of time before someone accepted the challenge… and that someone was 46-year old Essex roofer, Dan Witchalls. Not once but 4 times he has jumped from the building, starting whilst it was still under construction. His last jump was in April when the building was officially finished.
Standing 309.6m (1,016 ft) tall, the recently completed Shard is, according to some, a building of great architectural beauty and according to English Heritage “a shard of glass through the heart of historic London”. It was topped out on 30th March 2012 and officially opened on the 5th July. When BASEjumper and daredevil Dan Witchall heard it was being built, he thought “I must give that a go.” And soon enough he was scaling the uncompleted building and successfully leaping from it. His highest jump at this time was 850 ft. He jumped at night so that he could parachute onto the roads around the site.
It will come as no surprise that Dan Witchall’s motto is “Everyone dies, not everyone lives”, so it won’t come as any surprise to know that he has done more than 1,100 jumps off iconic structures around the world over the past 10 years. In his spare time (haha) he runs their family owned roofing business which is based in north London. Needless to say, DTM (Dan the Man) won the BASE JUMP EXTREME WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in Benidorm, Spain in June 2011. This was the first time ever that the title had been won by an English jumper. You have to be fit to carry off a feat like this. First of all you have to climb the building in complete silence. “For the first 50 floors it’s stairs, then they get more steep, then near the top it’s ladders. Every time you turn a corner there could be a security man there.” So no noise. No panting. No gasping for breath!
Witchall focused on the Shard after he heard that urban explorers had been in and out of the building without being caught and if you want to see some great pictures as to what London looks like from the top of the Shard you’ll follow their link.
So, that’s another one ticked off the list.