Las Vegas man dies in wingsuit crash at Lamoille Canyon; Forest Service urges others to find another place

Local News

ELKO, Nev. — U.S. Forest Service officials are asking BASE jumpers to find safer locations to engage in the extreme sport than a northern Nevada canyon where a second man has died in recent months.

The Elko County Sheriff’s Office said 38-year-old David W. Wessels of Las Vegas died Tuesday after jumping from a cliff at Lamoille Canyon and striking rocks at the bottom.

Another man died June 12 at the same location as Wessels, who was wearing a wingsuit and a parachute.

Forest Service officials said Lamoille Canyon is difficult for safe jumping because of unpredictable weather and short distances to maneuver.

“Although this activity is not prohibited on National Forest System lands, the Forest will be looking into the safety aspect and we want to encourage members of the public to find safer and more suitable locations for this type of activity,” said District Ranger Josh Nicholes.

“Two deaths at the same jump spot in less than four months are two too many,” Nicholes said.

Rich Martinez, the District’s fire prevention technician and a former smokejumper, explained that Lamoille Canyon is becoming a popular wingsuit base jumping location due to its rocky peaks, but the unpredictable weather and short distance to maneuver makes it a difficult place to jump.

“I understand the thrill and adrenaline rush of the sport, but I cannot stress enough that wingsuit base jumpers need to be aware of their skill level, and double- and triple-check their equipment and environmental conditions to ensure a safe jump,” said Martinez.

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