Police searching for suspects after trio of jumpers parachutes off Edmonton building
Published Tuesday, August 6, 2013 11:26AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 6, 2013 11:01PM EDT
Police in Edmonton are continuing their investigation of a stunt performed by three daredevils who left bystanders shocked late Sunday evening after they jumped off a 36-storey, partially-built building and parachuted to the ground.
The activity is called BASE jumping, and it involves jumping off a fixed object and using a parachute to break the fall.
The high-risk jump was caught on camera by Edmonton resident Murray Billett, who was walking home from dinner Sunday night when he witnessed the stunt.
He managed to take photos of the jumpers as they leapt from the Storey Pearl Tower in downtown Edmonton.
"They caught our eye because there was a couple of other people pointing at them," he told CTV Edmonton. "What scared me … and if you look at those pictures, they're driving those parachutes real hard."
"Any one of those guys could have hooked on those balconies, land on this street (and) get hit by a truck."
Edmonton Police Insp. Brian Nowlan said suspects could face break-and-enter charges, as the building was part of a secure construction site.
"The only way of getting into that building is you've got to break and enter, which is a criminal offence. Therefore this is a criminal investigation," he said.
He added that the reckless stunt could have put others in danger.
"When you're doing that in an urban setting like this, you are now putting other people's lives at risk."
In surveillance footage obtained by CTV News, the suspects -- who appear to be men -- are seen hopping over a fence at the back of the construction site shortly before 9 p.m. local time.
The suspects, dressed in dark clothing and wearing large backpacks – what could have been parachutes – are then seen entering the building.
It's believed the trio of jumpers parachuted off the tower shortly after, landing on the Victoria Promenade where a black Ford getaway vehicle was waiting for them.
According to Mark Palka with Priority 1 Security, it took the three jumpers 17 minutes to reach the top of the building after hopping the fence.
"I mean, these boys were in shape to get to the top and jump down," he said.
An employee with the security company said police were contacted less than two minutes after the surveillance cameras captured the suspects on film. A representative from the building's development company was also contacted and arrived on site just as the three suspects were jumping.
A similar incident occurred in Edmonton in July 2011, when three people jumped from another building and fled in a black SUV. The suspects were never caught.
Peter Kozack, from Edmonton Skydive, said BASE jumping is becoming increasingly popular.
"It gives parachuting in general a bad name when things like this happen. But the reality is, I think, people do it for the most part because they want to have a good time and have some fun," Kozack said.
But despite BASE jumping's growing popularity, Brian Seitinger, a project manager who has worked in many construction sites in downtown Edmonton, said the activity is very dangerous.
"If something happens while they are going up there, it could be a liability issue," he said.
Police said in addition to the break-and-enter charge, the suspects could face charges related to mischief, creating a disturbance and obstructing traffic.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Edmonton police at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
With files from CTV Edmonton