Paraplegic BASE jumper to do bridge leap in wheelchair
Lonnie Bissonnette will parachute from 260-metre-tall New River Gorge Bridge in W. Virginia
A Canadian BASE jumper who suffered a spinal injury that left him a paraplegic eight years ago is heading to West Virginia to take part in an annual celebration of the extreme sport, with plans to leap off a bridge in his wheelchair.
Lonnie Bissonnette of St. Catharines, Ont., will jump off the 260-metre-tall New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville on Saturday along with more than 450 others for Bridge Day.
BASE jumping involves jumping with a parachute from a fixed point, such as a high building or cliff.
Bissonnette was severely injured in 2004 after a jump off a bridge went wrong. However, his love of the sport drove him to design and build special equipment that allows him to jump in his wheelchair — a feat he first accomplished just one year after his accident.
"If I just gave up after that accident, after that one bad jump, I would have been quitting," he said.