BASE Jumper From OB Dies in Brazil Accident

by on July 30, 2015 · 0 comments

in Life Events, Ocean Beach, Sports

OB basejumper 3Fernando Goncalves Is 5th BASE Jumper to Die in Last 6 Weeks

A BASE jumper from Ocean Beach has died in a recent accident in Brazil. OBcean Fernando Goncalves was a professional wingsuit pilot but was killed while diving off Pedra da Gavea, a 2,769-foot granite dome mountain in Brazil.

OB Basejumper

Screen capture from Ch10News of Fernado Goncalves.

His is the fifth death of BASE jumpers in the last 6 weeks.

OB Basejumper 2

Screen capture of video of last successful flight.

The day before his death, Goncalves, 36, posted a video of a dive on his Facebook page off Pedra da Gavea. That was Thursday of last week – a week ago – and then on that Friday, he was killed making a similar jump, using a wingsuit and parachute. (Ch10News has the video.)

The “BASE” in BASE jumping is is an acronym that stands for jumping from a fixed object – such as buildings, antennas, spans and earth. And wingsuit jumping or diving is where the person uses a special jumpsuit that provides additional surface area that helps give the body substantial lift. It can be used from any fixed point with enough altitude to allow flight and the deployment of parachutes

A close friend of Goncalves and veteran skydiver and BASE jumper, John Fleming, spoke to the media. Fleming said that Goncalves recently worked at Sky-dive San Diego in Jamul, and –

“It’s heartbreaking and surprising.”

“We were very good friends. He was a fun loving person. Very happy go lucky, warm and personable. He started jumping at a remarkably young age — he was 15 or 16. His passion was absolutely jumping off high cliffs with wing suits.”

I think he truly loved to fly. He was drawn to the ability to be like a bird. It was a passion.”

Fleming believes Goncalves was hit by a gust of wind, and said:

“I believe the moment he exited the cliff, he was hit by an unexpected gust of wind or ran into some turbulence that probably pushed him back into the cliff and he struck the cliff.”

Fleming told the SDU-T that he hired him as a parachute rigger nearly a decade ago, and that, according to Fleming, BASE jumping is a very dangerous sport, significantly more dangerous than sky diving for the BASE jumper only has one parachute instead of two and also because parachute deployment altitudes are much lower.

The last time the two met was in a BASE jumping trip to Norway on June 20th. Goncalves posted on Facebook on July 7 a message: Enjoy every single second of life.

Meanwhile, Goncalves’ friends have created a gofundme page for him in order to raise money for funeral costs and to return his body to his family.  As of July 30, more than 200 people raised more than $14,000 of its $20,000 goal in three days, reaching the original $3,000 goal in just over an hour, according to his gofundme page.  All funds raised in excess of the $3,000 will support his 15-year-old daughter Isabela who lives in Brazil.

Thirteen years ago, Goncalves came to San Diego looking for a better life – one in which he could send money back to his daughter.

 San Diego U-T


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