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Cliffhangers

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Hanging out with friends, relatives or other people may expose one to the Covid-19 virus, but where former Chilean Air Force pilot and skydiver Sebastián Álvarez hangs around is probably more dangerous than coronavirus exposure.

In November, Alvarez became the first daredevil to fly in and out of a steaming volcano’s crater. A helicopter flew the 36-year-old Alvarez to 3,500 meters high where he leaped and flew towards Mount Villarica, one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, using a wingsuit.

Diving with his wingsuit closed, he vertically accelerated to more than 280 kilometers per hour and then opened it at the right moment to fly horizontally across the 200-meter-wide crater of the volcano.

Ironically, he safely completed the death-defying stunt by surviving 500 equally dangerous practice jumps prior. Each try by a daredevil could be the last as what happened to another practitioner of the extreme sport. That BASE jumper from Moab, Utah, USA fell to his death after jumping off a cliff overlooking Professor Valley near Rocky Rapid in Grand County last weekend.

The emergency crew found and retrieved the body of the 55-year-old wingsuit flyer on a slope where his satellite messaging device automatically transmitted an SOS signal upon impact to indicate his location. Investigators are determining what caused the fatal accident.

Meanwhile, 21 people recently hanged 26 meters high from the ground for 21 hours in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but they were not skydiving.

Twenty employees of a mountaintop restaurant and tram system in Sandia Peak were going down on a cable car to go home when the tram stopped because the cable drooped from heavy ice. Another tram going up to the mountain with one worker aboard also stopped for the same reason.

All 21 tram passengers were stuck starting 9 p.m. Rescue started at 1:45 p.m. the following day and all passengers were brought down by helicopter at 6 p.m.

More than enduring freezing temperature, it was the stranded passengers’ worse hangout after spending New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day suspended in the air.

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