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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.

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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