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Famed Wingsuit Jumper Shane Murphy of Ramona Dies in the French Alps

Ramona High School graduate had recently marked his 1,000th jump in the extreme sport.

OUTSIDE SAN DIEGO—Shane Murphy, who gained fame as a wingsuit parachutist from mountaintops, died Aug. 7 in the French Alps not long after marking his 1,000th jump, according to news reports and his obituary.

Murphy, a Ramona High School graduate, had just turned 30 on Aug. 3.

According to French press reports, Murphy and a companion leaped in their flying-squirrel-type outfits near Chamonix, a popular locale for the extreme sports—and scene of earlier deaths.

Chamonet.com reported: “This is the first fatal accident since Chamonix banned wingsuit base jumps following a fatal jump off the Brevent.”

According to a local French site:

Shane set off with a fellow wingsuit base jumper for the Tête de Croix de Fer, part of the Chaine des Fiz. However on arrival Shane had not made it back to the landing spot. Reported as missing, the Chamonix mountain rescue were called to assist in the search for his body and at 14:30, Shane Murphy was found at the bottom of Les Arcets, Sallanches.

Another report said: “One arrived at the landing site and gave the alarm immediately. Despite rescue efforts and search by the helicopter platoon of police mountain in Chamonix, man could not be found Tuesday [Aug. 7]” but Murphy’s body was recovered Aug. 8.

A U-T San Diego obituary said Murphy—the son of Nancy Taylor of Ramona and Dan Murphy of Ohio—was a licensed helicopter pilot, flight instructor, sky diving instructor and internationally ranked BASE jumper.

BASE means parachutists who jump from buildings, antennas, spans and earth.

“Raised on a horse ranch, Shane loved all animals and most recently his dog, Bella. He relished every opportunity for adventure here and abroad and loved to share his inspiration for life and learning with others,” said his U-T obituary.

Plans for a celebration of life include a gathering at 5 p.m. Aug. 31 at Crown Point on Mission Bay. A memorial fund has been set up for education in science, technology and engineering.

According to blueskiesmag.com, Murphy died in the Fiz mountain range near Chamonix, France.

“Chamonix is a well-loved destination for extreme athletes of all kinds, including BASE jumpers,” the report said. “Shane was highly experienced but for some reason did not make it back to the landing zone. His body was recovered by mountain rescue service. The cause of the accident is not known or has not been released at this point.”

Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes featured wingsuiters and BASE jumping in 2009, and Murphy posted videos of his own jumps as well.

Joe Henry August 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Oh well, he was dumb, I do not feel sorry for him. Live fast, DIE FAST!
Bob Frye August 17, 2012 at 03:58 PM
"The cause of the accident is not known..." Anybody want to guess?
Robert Ferello August 17, 2012 at 04:12 PM
This type of sport is inherently dangerous (duh). But in order to get their thrills jumpers puposely position themselves to pass very close to peaks, cliffs, trees and other obstacles which raises the risk of collision. Most likely he had a camera mounted and if they recover it, they will know exactly why this tragedy occurred.
Jeffrey Wright August 17, 2012 at 04:26 PM
He died doing what he loved ... Unlike you who will probably die fat and miserable sitting on his ass !!!
KennyG August 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I would bet to say hitting the ground.Not trying to make light of a tragic situation but c'mon.
loveoneanother August 17, 2012 at 04:48 PM
to Joe Henry: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all!!! Shame on you. Get a grip on respect and love!
Deena While August 17, 2012 at 04:50 PM
His videos are breathtaking. I can see why he loved Base Jumping.
Fred August 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Darwin always wins in the end.
Jamay August 17, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Extreme sports is taking a risk with ones life. I for one would never risk my life purposely. I'm sure he knew the risks and had decided that the joy of flying was more important to him. I wonder if, he realized the hurt he would cause his family and friends? My heart goes out to them for their loss. People who take risks are selfish, in my opinion.
diana allen August 17, 2012 at 05:12 PM
well what a nice thing to say, Joe. you must be a fine human being------not
Dave (Willie) August 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I agree, Dumb, I dont think so. Adventerous yes. He challenged Life and he new the risk, What a thrill that sport must be. But some of us choose to not take that risk. Me for one! Hope he rests in the heavens.
K Evans August 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I believe you mean Newton..."what goes up must come down". Darwin was into evolution.
Mrs. MacGillicuttie August 17, 2012 at 06:15 PM
K Evans-quick wit...mind like a steep trap...
Abe Bradt August 17, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Up there there is a big pegboard.........when your number gets hung on that board, you are going! His number was due.
D.Owen August 17, 2012 at 06:36 PM
He just crossed over,he was flying with the Lord and is still flying with the Lord,Just bigger and longer flights.
gloria August 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
woa his utube shows us things most would never be able to experience. Looks like he did what he enjoyed. So sad he wont be able to grow old and talk about it, but his family will. prayers are with who he left behind. Handsome boy having fun.
Name it August 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM
K Evans, you are correct and also clueless. It appears you are also a victim of Darwin’s theory.
Duane August 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I tend to agree. I always wonder who pays for the helicopter search and rescue attempts? Sad for his family, but the community shouldn't have to be responsible for his irresponsibility.
John Busch August 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM
K Evans, we understand YOU'RE point, but I believe the point Fred was referring to was the annual so-called Darwin Awards where dangerous, even fatal, stunts, usually of a "why the heck did they even THINK about trying that" nature are publicized.
Jeff S. August 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM
We will all meet you one day... BASE109
Al_Shumate August 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM
You can only push your luck so many times. I remember my time in the service I which time I took many chances and they paid me hazardous duty pay and when I ran to someone who ask me about jumping and paying for the jumping I thought – I got paid extra money to do this and this guy wants me to pay him – There was something wrong with that picture and I told him so.
Nicole DeCesari August 17, 2012 at 11:12 PM
The news of his death hit us hard. I knew him thru my boyfriend who took helicopter flight lessons from him. He was a sweet man with a passion. We send our prayers to his family
maragray August 17, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Having seen his flight on video, I was envious of his fun. No longer!
Amber August 19, 2012 at 09:50 PM
I don't know Shane but my friend does. She misses him and tells me what a fearless flyer and amazing friend he was. We need people like Shane to show us its possible to explore and defeat the laws of nature. If it weren't for true bravery by adventurers like Shane we would not have advances in many arenas of life as we do today. He knew the risks but wanted to free his soul. I commend him.
Judi August 24, 2012 at 05:32 AM
I hope no one says the same things to your family.... by saying these things you say more about yourself than about Shane.
Todd Lawson(Enoteca ) August 26, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Shane was an awesome guy with an appreciation for fine things as well as fun. I will miss seeing that huge smile, especially when he asked me " what did you cook ? Got any extra?" I raise a glass to Shane. My condolence to his family and other friends.
JUSTIN HOPE September 18, 2012 at 04:40 PM
To all you nay sayers out there, shame on you. Your life can end at anytime. Sorry his life was more memorable than yours. R.I.P
Matthew October 07, 2012 at 06:07 AM
I remember when I first showed interest in BASE. The guy who trained and mentored me in the sport, the first thing he had me do was read the fatality list. Deciding to cross over from Skydiving to BASE is not a decision made lightly. We chose to do it knowing full well the risks. Shane was no different. It's a shame that the BASE world has lost some one so inspiring to us, but we well never forget his contribution to the sport, and the fact that he was one of the few who decided, despite the risks, to go for it, to dive head long into the richest part of life, living. BSBD buddy. We miss you so much
ron richardson December 03, 2012 at 05:09 AM
wow, that video was awe inspiring. i wonder what goes through your mind the instant your last foot loses contact with the earth? that young man took the full measure of what this life has to offer.
whitney hawks February 13, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Shane was a dear friend...hearing of his death was horrible. I remember when he started skydiving, BASE jumping and doing all the crazy things he started getting into. I would tell him that he worried me, that what if he died, and he would always say the same thing to me, "We all die someday but I can't live in fear of that, I am going to do what I love to do". I consider myself lucky to have known him, we had some great times and experiences together, he was a cherished friend and I think of him often. Shane, I miss you buddy.

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