BASE jumpers "day blaze" off Waikiki high rise

The 37-story Villa on Eaton Square in Waikiki
The 37-story Villa on Eaton Square in Waikiki
Jim Besse
Jim Besse
Ray Belcher
Ray Belcher
Richard Saltzman
Richard Saltzman

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - BASE jumpers have always been bold but now they are bringing their sport into the daytime hours and creating a lot of attention.

Would you BASE jump off a 37 story building? Five men did on Friday the 13th no less and in broad daylight.

The video shows the guys standing on the roof of the Villa on Eaton Square in Waikiki but not for long.

"You pray to God they don't but sure enough they do. They jump off there and just about the time they get down to where our floor is on the 14th floor their black parachutes open up and they just sail right on down," said Ray Belcher, who lives in the Marina Towers Building and witnessed the BASE jumping.

TK Hinshaw says BASE jumping is a spiritual activity, similar to religious beliefs. He also says they take precautions like using the best equipment, planning and training for each jump and take weather into account.  He adds they are not "crazy yahoos" but college educated.  Some are pilots, veterans and extreme sport athletes.  They have medical insurance and they don't want to hide their sport.

The building manager said the activity is not allowed mainly because of the liability.  That's also what concerns some residents.

"If an accident happens it's bound to come into play. I don't need an increase in insurance or costs at any rate," said Jim Besse, Villa on Eaton Square resident.

Legally there is no law against BASE jumping but Honolulu Police says that's no reason to try it.

"This type of activity is obviously dangerous. The Honolulu Police Department discourages people from participating in any action or stunt that could injure themselves or others.  Depending on the circumstances, those participating in this type of activity could be breaking several laws including trespassing, criminal property damage, burglary or disorderly conduct," said Caroline Sluyter, Honolulu Police Department Spokesperson in a written statement.

In Friday's case one of the jumpers lives in the building and got access to the roof legally.

People we spoke with didn't seem to mind the activity taking place.

"I don't think this is something so serious it's going to warrant our legislature sitting in a room somewhere making up a law about guys jumping off buildings especially guys that are properly trained," said Belcher.

"I wish I had the courage that they have. I'm kind of a coward. I like to walk, I don't ride a bike, I don't drive a car, but anybody that can do that I give them lots of courage," said Richard Saltzman, Villa on Eaton Square resident.

Some told us the BASE jumpers aren't hurting anybody. Others said there is risk of an accident.

"There would be lots of onlookers. They might not be walking properly or driving properly, it might cause a sensation.  It might be dangerous for traffic but they can do it at night when nobody is here," said Saltzman.

There is video online of night jumps in Waikiki. The day jumps are rare and referred to as "day blazing."

Hinshaw says Friday's jump was likely the last one from the Villa on Eaton Square building. However the man that soars above the ground hopes one day he won't be looked down upon like a criminal.

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