Edmonton skyline stunt amuses witnesses

Passers-by were treated with an unusual sight on the Edmonton skyline last night — three parachutists leaping from an unfinished highrise building.

Police investigate after parachutists leap from 36-storey Pearl Tower

One of three base jumpers fly over the Edmonton skyline Sunday night. (Courtesy of Murray Billet)

Passers-by were treated to an unusual sight on the Edmonton skyline last night — three parachutists leaping from an unfinished highrise building.

The jumpers were participating in an activity known as base jumping, using a parachute to jump from fixed objects.

The stunt amused passers-by on Edmonton's promenade near 116th Street. (Murray Billet)

In this case it was the 36-storey Pearl Tower condo building in downtown Edmonton.

Murray Billett was walking atop the river bank near 116th Street after 9 p.m. when he saw three people weaving back and forth through the air below the condo.

"It's the perfect thing to happen on the promenade," he said. "We're 'Can you believe what just happened?'

"How did they get in there, and the fast getaway, and nobody else saw them, so downtown Edmonton at its best, I must say."

While Billet and his companion marveled at the stunt, they couldn't help but think about how dangerous it was.

"They could have landed... got hit by a car," he said. "They could have got caught on the balcony." 

"It wouldn't take much of a breeze to take them down onto the road down here, never mind taking out some of the seniors down here."

Edmonton police agree.

"Regardless of how well-prepared jumpers believe they are, this is a very dangerous and illegal activity not at all suited for an urban environment," said Insp. Brian Nowlan.  "The safety of the jumpers and persons on the street has to be considered as everything is over in a matter of seconds."

Nowlan said they received a report that three men entered a fenced and locked construction site and jumped from one of the top floors of the building, landing a short distance away on Victoria Park Road before fleeing in a waiting vehicle.  

While the daredevil stunt is done all over the world, police believe there's only been one similar jump in Edmonton — last year from the EPCOR tower as it was under construction.

Police continue to investigate.

"Depending on the circumstances, jumpers can face charges such as trespassing, break and enter, or mischief," Nowlan said.

With files from CBC's Nola Keeler