Skip to main content

Report: London Olympics parachutist Mark Sutton dies in Switzerland

By Laura Smith-Spark and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 0618 GMT (1418 HKT)
Mark Sutton as James Bond parachutes out of a helicopter during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Mark Sutton as James Bond parachutes out of a helicopter during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: British Parachute Association is saddened by news of the death of a member
  • Swiss police say a 42-year-old British man died after jumping in a wingsuit
  • UK media name him as Mark Sutton, who jumped at the London Olympics opening ceremony
  • Police say the man hit a cliff after jumping from a helicopter in the Alps

(CNN) -- A British stuntman who parachuted dressed as James Bond during the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony has died, UK media reported.

Mark Sutton, whose performance was one of the highlights of the opening ceremony, was in Switzerland at the time of his death.

Click through to see people who passed away in 2013. Click through to see people who passed away in 2013.
People we lost in 2013
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2013 Photos: People we lost in 2013

Police in Switzerland's Valais Canton did not name him, saying formal identification is under way after the incident Wednesday morning in the Trient area.

The 42-year-old died after hitting a cliff while jumping in a "wingsuit" from a helicopter, a police statement said.

He and another man jumped from a height of about 3,300 meters in the Grandes-Otannes area in the Alps, near the border with France, the statement said.

The Olympics' opening ceremony

"They then flew remaining close to the mountain, with the intention of landing near Le Peuty, near Trient, in Switzerland," it said.

"During this flight, one of the men suffered a fatal fall. According to a preliminary investigation, it appears that he fell after hitting a cliff."

The Briton was in Chamonix with 20 other professionals "considered among the best in the world in this discipline," police said.

They had been gathered there by a company that specializes in extreme sports, with daredevil feats filmed and broadcast via the Internet.

The UK Foreign Office confirmed the death of a British citizen in Switzerland, and a spokesman said the office stood "ready to provide consular assistance."

Sutton jumped from a helicopter above the Olympic stadium alongside a fellow stuntman dressed as Queen Elizabeth II in an opening ceremony show seen by millions.

Gary Connery, who played the queen, made an apparent reference to news of Sutton's death on Twitter.

"All you jumpers/flyers out there, stay safe, make wise choices and know your limits and your locations. Live to tell your stories. One love," he posted late Wednesday.

Wingsuit jumping is an extreme sport carried out by experienced skydivers who use a special suit -- which looks like a superhero's cape -- to increase the surface area of the body. The large suit allows them to extend their time in free fall before deploying a parachute to land.

John Hitchen, national coach and safety officer for the British Parachute Association, said the organization was saddened to hear about the death of Sutton, who was a member.

He said jumpers need to be experienced to use wingsuits, which allow the user to slow their descent, to glide to a degree and move horizontally to the ground.

Although the details are unconfirmed as yet, Sutton may have been "terrain flying," which involves flying very close to mountains or cliffs, Hitchen said.

"You get a buzz from it but it's potentially quite hazardous," he said.

People we've lost in 2013

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1438 GMT (2238 HKT)
The death of an American from Ebola fuels fears of the further global spread of the virus.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Nearly two weeks after MH17 was blown out of the sky, Dutch investigators have yet to lay eyes on the wreckage. How useful will it be now?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
The U.S. and EU are imposing new sanctions on Moscow -- but will they have any effect?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT