Hundreds base jump in annual Bridge Day

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Base jumpers plunge off 900-foot bridge during annual jumping event. (KTRK)

For thirty five years now, people have been jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge for Bridge Day.

Now there is even a human catapult shooting people out into the gorge.

One has to wonder what it's like to take that plunge.

"It's terrifying," explains Randy Carrico. "It's like a dream almost. Because everything is really loud. Everybody's on top of the bridge and scattered around and a lot of noises. And as soon as you leave the bridge it's really quiet and serene and peaceful almost."

Carrico and John McDonald drove in from Ohio for the death defying day. They and 450 other BASE jumpers will take the leap off the bridge -- nearly 900 feet from the ground.

"My first base jump was actually last year off the bridge," McDonald tells WVVA.

We asked Carrico what does it take to be a BASE jumper. "Technically about 200 skydives at minimal. A lot of courage. And a little stupidity because it's not smart."

While it is rare, injuries and deaths have resulted on Bridge Day.

On Thursday, you can already find the jumpers busy inspecting their equipment, making sure there are no tears or defects. And then they have to make sure it's packed up just right.

About 80,000 people turn out for the free event.

"We have special under the gorge shuttles and right now all of them are sold out," said Cindy Dragan, Bridge Day Chair. "So all signs point to a great turnout.

And there will be plenty to see and do.

"The x-pogo stunt team, the Crossroads Mall is bringing them in again, they'll be there. We have repellers, we have 186 people that are going to have booths, that are going to be selling everything from food to jewelry."
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