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Watch: Shrewsbury daredevil in tandem base jump off 280ft Devon cliff

A daredevil from Shropshire has taken part in what has been claimed to be the UK's first-ever tandem base jump.

The pair in the air after jumping from the cliff. (Image: © Mountain Man BASE)
The pair in the air after jumping from the cliff. (Image: © Mountain Man BASE)

Hans Donner, who hails from Wilcott near Shrewsbury, is part of Mountain Man Base Team.

The team performed pioneering tandem base jumps at Beer Head in Devon, the site of the original solo UK jumps back in 1982.

Hans led a colleague in successfully jumping safely from the 280ft chalk cliff on the Jurassic Coast.

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The 42-year-old, from a family with an airborne forces heritage, is an accomplished parachutist, having jumped locally at Shropshire airfields, and throughout the UK.

He is now a tandem skydive instructor, with more than 3,000 jumps under his belt and had been BASE jumping for 10 years.

Hans and fellow team members from Mountain Man BASE worked on the project for two years to prepare, plan, design and source equipment, and run trials with weighted bags off UK cliffs before finally performing the first live tandem jumps with other team members last week. They said they informed the coastguard before the jump to ensure they were aware.

The daredevil duo start their jump. (Image: © Mountain Man BASE)

The daredevil jumps were declared a great success and the team says they will help to bring in a new era of base jumping in the UK.

Hans's colleague Dave Gallagher said: "There's only a handful of people in the world who do this, such as in Europe and USA.

"You have to have the recognised expertise to do this and get the kit and we had the Devon Coastguard there when we did it.

"The last few years, the Mountain Man Base has been putting the UK on the map, showcasing there's loads of potential around the country to do this.

"Hans is a key member of the team whose key area is north Wales and the edge of Shropshire and we're keen to promote the UK because there's a wealth of lovely scenery and sea cliffs to do this off."

The jump took place in still evening conditions during the heatwave, on the mountainous cliffs between the Devon villages of Beer and Branscombe.

Dave said: "Mountain Man Base are experienced professionals with the skills and knowledge to make this happen. The jumps were conducted in liaison with the Devon coastguard, some members of whom witnessed the jumps whilst conducting their own training exercises in the vicinity.

"Weather conditions were perfect when the live jumps were made and they were against a magnificent backdrop with the sun going down, the sea calm and the moon coming up."

Jumping from Beer Head cliffs

The stunt was witnessed by only a few walkers who were enjoying the popular coastal path.

One of those watching the jump was Cath Drew, from Penn in Wolverhampton, who was staying at the nearby Beer Head Caravan Park.

Cath, 49, said: "We saw a team of people on the cliff edge and presumed it was one of the regular coastguard training sessions that you see on the coast for cliff rescues.

"Then we saw that the man sitting on the cliff edge was part of a tandem and that they were preparing for a jump.

"There was a lot of preparation as they checked the wind conditions and the team on the cliff were communicating with others on the beach below through radios.

"And, after a brief 'one, two, three', they jumped. You could here the rush of the parachute opening and then thankfully could see they were safe.

Beer Head

"It happened very quickly and was probably only seen by about six people. We just happened to be going for a quick evening walk along the coast when we came across it.

"It was a beautiful evening with hardly a breath of wind, so probably the best conditions you could hope for if you ever fancies jumping from a cliff with a parachute."

Incidentally, this part of Devon hosted the UK's first-ever BASE jump from an 'Earth exit'.

BASE stands for 'Buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and Earth and jumpers 'exit' from these locations.

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