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BASE Jumping Fatality at Notch Peak

Fernando Motta

  Notch Peak is a 9600-foot mountain about 35 miles west of Delta, Utah.  From the top, it’s a two-thousand foot drop straight down – and that’s one reason why it’s become a favorite spot for BASE jumping – jumping off the cliff with wing suits and parachutes.  There have been two fatalities there in the past year, one just ten days ago.

35-year-old Fernando Motta had been at the peak for several days with a group of friends, hiking more than four miles to the top of the mountain, jumping from the peak and taking videos to post on the Internet.  Lieutenant Morris Burton with the Millard County Sheriff’s Office says Motta jumped with another man and a woman late on Saturday, April 28th.

“The first man that went off got good lift from his suit and had a successful jump," Burton told KUER.  "This woman said that she went off just right on the heels of the gentleman that died, and she said they were not getting good lift.  She recognized that right away and veered off to the side and took a different path that gave her a more clear path to get down.” 

Motta crashed into the cliff and was killed.  It took authorities using helicopters until Monday to recover his body.

BASE jumping is prohibited in national parks, but it’s legal at Notch Peak, where the land is owned by the Bureau of Land Management.  Lisa Reid with the BLM says jumpers don’t have to get a permit or even to tell anybody where they are.

“Y’know, we can only manage so much," Reid says, "and if people choose to jump off cliffs, that is a choice that they make.”

Notch Peak is in a wilderness study area, so a visitor who came there in a motorized vehicle could get a ticket.

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