An Italian wingsuit pilot jumped to his death in the Alps while filming it all on Facebook Live.
The UK Daily Mail identified the man as Armin Schmieder and said that horrified viewers heard the death jump streamed live on Facebook. Schmieder had pocketed his cell phone before plummeting off the cliff, so only the sounds of his death are heard.
Blick, a German-language publication, says Schmieder died “live on Facebook.” The video “starts harmless,” Blick says, adding that Schmieder lived in Freiburg and had a young child.
The 7-minute, 11-second long Facebook video starts with Schmieder putting on the base jumping equipment as he laughs and smiles while narrating in German for the camera. He then dons sunglasses and a helmet fitted with a camera and prepares to make the dangerous jump from a mountain in Kandersteg, Switzerland.
The first few minutes of the video show Schmieder getting on his gear and equipment. He then turns the camera to show the view of the mountains and valley into which he was preparing to jump. He waves goodbye to those watching live on Facebook.
The video then shows only a blurred orange/pink screen because, says Daily Mail, Schmieder has put the phone in his pocket, but Schmieder can still be heard in the background. “Today you fly with me,” Schmieder told his Facebook audience before he prepared to jump.
He said, “one, two” in German, and viewers can hear the rushing of air before a scream, what sounds like tumbling, and the horrible sound of impact, followed by cow bells and then silence. The video does not show the actual death, but it captured the sound of it.
As Schmieder dies, the “viewer sees nothing but…the sound. But this is all the more disturbing,” says Blick. “To hear…Armin S. jump off, listen to the wind. Then a scream and sounds of a fall. Then there is silence – only the bells of cows can be heard.”
According to Blick, Schmieder’s horrified friends, mother, and brother were following along live in Facebook, and wrote things like, “What’s going on?” and “Armin, write or say something” and “I really am worried.” His mother and his brother asked viewers: “Where is he? And what happened? Could I have information … ” said Blick, and, eventually, people realized he had died and wrote comments such as, “You were a great person and friend. Fly Free,” Blick said.
The police said he had jumped alone and had indeed died, Blick said, quoting a friend as saying, “He was an experienced skydiver, but flew only a year with the wingsuit.”
Italian media also widely reported on the tragedy, which occurred on August 26. Il Giorno dell’Alto Adige wrote on Facebook, “These are the last images of Armin Schmieder, the base jumper of only 28 years… tragically passed away yesterday morning in Switzerland during…wingsuit flying. The preparations of a launch that for him will be the last.”
Another video shows Schmieder base jumping previously:
Neveitalia said Schmieder was “the third base jumper in nine days to crash on the Swiss Alps.”