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Alan Malcolm McCandlish

Alan Malcolm McCandlish
Date: July 07 2012 Nationality: New Zealand
Object Type: Earth
Location: Kandersteg, Switzerland
COD: Impact talus, nothing out
Clothes / Suit: Wingsuit

Account from Douggs

On the morning of the 7th July 2012 several different groups of experienced jumpers all showed up at the same time to get on the first cable car to go to the cliff Kandersteg. All were in wingsuits.

The weather was perfect. Not too hot nor cold with a slight breeze at the exit point and in the valley below. Perfect conditions.

There were at least 15 jumpers on the exit point and all were in good spirits with a good vibe. Jumpers were exiting and flying both the left line & straight out, with a majority of people flying the right-line. The Deceased, Alan McClandish was about 3 jumpers behind me on the exit. He had mentioned to a fellow jumper that he was a little tired but nothing really out of the ordinary. We joked as perusual and I said to him on exit the standard thing “Have a good one” with a handshake.

After flying the left line I landed safely at the cafe and proceeded to watch as a couple of other jumpers exited, flew & opened safely.
For Alan’s jump I did not see the exit but I saw the second half of his flight, which was looking excellent with good speed & glide. It also looked as he was flying a very tight line.

The next part of the jump seemed weird because as he flew to where a large ledge was he started a turn and then disappeared out of site for possibly up to 3 seconds. I was expecting him to fly out from the other side of the ledge but instead there was a very distinct sound of an impact as myself,and at least 10 other jumpers watched him bounce down an almost sheer wall. The canopy appeared to be out but it was a ball of shit. He bounced for possibly about 250 meters and came to rest on a ledge approximately 200 meters up.

I instantly called the Rega helicopter and there were there within 15 minutes for what we all knew was body retrieval. It was suggested that all the other jumpers leave, as there was nothing that could be done. Myself and Alan’s best friend Benny waited for the chopper and instructed the rescue guys and the doctors on what had happened.
After less than an hour they retrieved Alan’s body and we confirmed that it was him.

Initially we had thought he had hit the cliff ‘head on’ but this was not the case as his head and face did not show this type of impact.
After talking with Benny who also saw the impact from below where it happened we came up with this assumption….

Alan was one of the fiercest wingsuit pilots on the planet when he used to fly his S-Fly wingsuit. His flights were unmatched by any other.He had recently started flying a V4 and was having troubles flying it due to the completely different styles of flying. He had made approximately 12 jumps on the suit and the last 2 jumps he seemed to get it to fly very well.

Myself and Benny think that as he was flying so well on this jump that he went back into hardcore mode and decided to fly a tight line to the right. He was higher than most people who fly this line and we think he was trying to get over a large ledge that was also wide. From another angle you can see this very noticeably. We think he realized at the last second that he wasn't going to make it over and he initiated a fairly sharp turn to miss the ledge.Although he could turn on a dime in his S-Fly, he hadn't practiced turning sharply on the V4. We think he impacted on this ledge, which was covered in grass. This also explains the 2-3 seconds where no one saw or heard him as the impact made no sound. We think that after the initial and fatal impact he either slid of rolled down this ledge and back into free fall and it was this time when we all heard and saw the impacting down to where he came to rest on the ledge.

He was wearing a camera and helmet but there were no signs of them from the rescue team.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to the Police and the rescue team involved in this tragic accident. They did an amazing job and were very compassionate and professional throughout the whole event.

Alan was a very experienced base jumper and a very hard-core one at that. He knew the risks involved in this sort of flying and that any miscalculation could result in serious injury or death.

I can only ask that all base jumpers please take care out there, especially the good ones, as it is now the experienced guys dying.

  1. Do you need to be one foot off the ground?
  2. Do you need to hit trees?
  3. Is that one second of joy worth losing your life for?
  4. Do you want to put your friends and family through this sort of trauma?

I urge everybody to just slow down a little and enjoy the bigger picture. Alan’s passion for base jumping was huge and now he can never jump again!
There is nothing wrong with flying at 70-80% of what you are capable of. I personally run at 50-70% most of the time to keep stuff in reserve.

Please be safe out there


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