PHOTOSHOOTING WITH VALERY ROZOV - B.A.S.E. JUMP FROM MCB TOWER - KARACHI / PAKISTAN
Russian athlete Valery Rozov accomplish an incredible B.A.S.E. jump stunt in Pakistan - Karachi. Extreme sport star jumped from MCB Tower - the tallest building in Pakistan with a height of 116 meters, with 29 levels and 3 basements. Despite of the unfavorable wind conditions, Valery decided to jump!
Valery Rozov and the tallest building in Pakistan were the objective we wanted to achieve this time. B.A.S.E. jump from the MCB tower building in the Pakistani city of Karachi was a project planned a long time ahead and therefore it had been put off several times. Finally, all the pieces fit and after spending a lot of time attaining the traveling permissions and visas, everything was ready (by the way, you are not obliged to have tourist visas for Pakistan). Before heading off, all the members of the team felt the same nervousness, but we were all assured that this was going to be a journey of a lifetime. The moment we reached the airport we realized that we arrived in a country completely different from ours. The customs official accompanied us (organized by our team in Pakistan) as we got off the plane and subjected us to all customs controls. As soon as we left the airport we met a driver who was waiting to take us to the hotel "Sheraton" where we were supposed to stay for the next few days. The arrival in the hotel confirmed our suspicions that we were visiting the country where the war zones still existed and the security measures were a part of everyday life.
Due to the four - hours time difference it was not before the late afternoon the next day that the team gathered to make plans for the following days. The first thing on the agenda was the visiting the location and the famous MCB tower building. When we reached the top of the building we were astonished by the amazing view of the city with 18 million residents. But the wind that started to blow became a new problem we had to face (it was blowing in the completely opposite direction from the one we expected). We spent a few hours on the roof checking the direction and the wind speed every 15 minutes...and the results didn’t come up to our expectations.
We had to go there again the following morning, at the exact time of the planned jump, in order to measure the approximate wind strength, wind direction as well as the visibility and the position of the sun, to assure that we would have perfect conditions for taking the photos. On our second day in Pakistan we visited one of the best Pakistani restaurants and enjoyed the great hospitality of our hosts (Pakistani cuisine is certainly something special!)
Although we weren’t delighted by getting up at the crack of dawn, we reached the MCB tower building’s roof at the appointed time and readily waited for the sunrise and the jump. Even though the wind hadn’t changed, the light was perfect; mellow haze around us made photos look mystical and absolutely fascinating. The time was passing. The appointed time for the jump was behind us, but the wind kept changing the strength and direction. Valery decided to work on the backup version of the jump in case that the wind remained variable.
The balcony below the roof seemed like a reasonable solution since it was possible to use it for the jump from the side opposite the one we had chosen initially. But the new problems arose threatening to jeopardize our project. The initial height of 116 m turned into only 82, from the balcony, which was not only a new challenge for Rozov, but also a considerable risk. After we spent another couple of hours on the roof we realized that the wind subsided which made us think that the jump could be done that afternoon. Valery and the whole team agreed! Meanwhile, we spent some time sightseeing Karachi and enjoying new discoveries we made all around this huge and cruel city.
That afternoon we were all in the building again. The wind was unacceptable! The jump was again postponed to, in fact, initially arranged time, Sunday, 1 November 2009, at 7 a.m.
In the morning we were all in the hotel lobby, ready and fully equipped. Getting back to the location we visited the previous day seemed like a Déja vu. On the top of the building the conditions were unchanged, strong wind, the same direction and unforgettable view of the rising sun above Karachi.
We decided to make necessary preparations and wait. Video cameras were set; the video crew was positioned at previously chosen locations. My four digital cameras were fixed at various spots and interconnected by remote controls. The silence on the top of the building was occasionally interrupted by Valery’s calm voice which was coming from the radio stations. The wind still wasn’t favourable. The police who blocked the street, the building security, photo and video crew were all waiting to hear the sign for the jump.
After waiting for two hours Valery decided to do the alternative jump, which meant the jump from the balcony just below the roof. Everything had to be prepared again, photo cameras, video cameras, new positions. The other side of the building was considerably different, considering not only the view but the jumping and landing positions. For me, this meant that I had to use three instead of four photo cameras, which lessened my chances for capturing the moment, and for Valery, as I already said, this meant height of only 82 m!
After another thirty minutes of preparations, everything was set again. At that moment the wind was a bit stronger than expected but, at least, it was blowing in the desirable direction. We were all waiting for the Valery’s sign. “Two more minutes, one more minute, thirty seconds”, said the voice from the radio stations. 10, 9, 8...1, jump! Valery Rozov was surfing the sky, adding a new remarkable feat to the history of his unique and fascinating jumps. The sound of his parachute echoed over Karachi. Valery flew with the opened parachute but in the split of a second a gust and turbulences made him change the direction. The wind turned him to the opposite direction and took him behind the building corner, totally outside the planned flying path. Finding himself in an extremely unexpected position, he tried to fly through a very narrow space between two buildings. The huge experience, the composure and his skills were crucial at that very moment.
Valery successfully controlled the jump up until one side of his parachute attached to the armature of an under-construction building. He stayed in the air for a short time but soon he reached the top of the building. After the dramatic gust everything came to an end successfully and without any injuries. Once again, we witnessed the event of historic importance and Valery became the first man ever to jump from the tallest Pakistani building MCB Tower. The B.A.S.E. jump definitely proved to be one of the most unpredictable and dangerous sports in the world!
B.A.S.E. jumping is not a sport for the faint of heart. Athletes who practice this extreme sport climb to the top of tall buildings, canyons, or other structures; jump off; enjoy a period of free falling; then open a parachute and coast to the ground.
The acronym B.A.S.E. stands for building, antennae, span, and earth; which make up a comprehensive list of what kinds of fixed objects BASE jumpers plummet from. Span is a term that includes all sorts of bridges, or any other structures that span over a valley or chasm. Earth means anything from cliffs to mountains to canyons.
B.A.S.E. jumping is very dangerous for a variety of reasons, but the most common causes of injury and death have to do with failure to maintain a clear area around the athlete during the jump and/or the landing. If the wind is against them or if they make a mistake during the launch of their jump, athletes sometimes collide with the object that they have jumped from. Because B.A.S.E. jumping areas are usually not designated for this guerilla-style sport, the makeshift landing targets that jumpers aim for are rarely large enough to allow for a safe jump. As a result many BASE enthusiasts meet with serious and sometimes fatal injuries because they haven’t been able to steer themselves to the landing area in time.
Before becoming a B.A.S.E. jumper, an athlete must complete a full course of skydiver training. Once they have their full skydiving certification, the next step for anyone interested in B.A.S.E. is to find a mentor in the jumping community who can teach them how to take on these ambitious freefalls. Only experienced divers can even contemplate a B.A.S.E. jump because this kind of unguided and somewhat unpredictable activity requires razor sharp awareness of altitude, along with stellar free fall technique.
However, no amount of experience can guarantee that you will complete your jump without mishap, so even very accomplished jumpers are taking serious risks every time they prepare to hurl themselves off of a building, antennae, span, or natural cliff.
B.A.S.E. jumping is one of the most dangerous sports practiced today!
PAKISTAN / KARACHI
Karachi is a city populated by 18 million residents, recording itself as among the largest metropolises in the world and the largest city in Pakistan and the capital of Sindh Province. The city is enriched by the rivers Malir and Liyari and several small islands protect Karachi’s natural harbor. Karachi focuses mainly on the industries of textile manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, steel and automobiles. The city is also known to be a software outsourcing hub in Pakistan.
Karachi, the commercial nerve centre of Pakistan, is one of the most richly rewarding regions of the world to visit. Its scenery is captivating and varied; its history and culture is mystifying and impressive. The myriad Karachi attractions keep travelers attracted throughout the year and more than anywhere else in Pakistan, there’s much to do and see in Karachi if you enjoy shopping, nightlife and dining. The countless Karachi restaurants prepare a wide choice of Pakistani and international cuisines. Its markets and bazaars boast rugs and carpets in handsome designs.
The risk of Malaria is prevalent throughout the year. It is recommended to have vaccinations against typhoid, polio, cholera and hepatitis. Visitors are required to have a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate if traveling from an endemic area. An AIDS free certificate is required by foreign travelers intending to stay for more than a year in Pakistan.
Drink only boiled water or sealed bottled mineral water. Always avoid drinking from glasses and instead request a straw. A mosquito repellent would be very handy particularly in the evenings.
Karachi City Facts
Karachi Population - 18,000,000 (UN Population Division 2000 estimate)
Pakistan Population - 162,419,946 (UN Population Division 2000 estimate)
Currency - Pakistani Rupee = 100 paisa
Time Zone - GMT +5 hours
Languages - Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraiki, Pashtu, Urdu (official), Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, English (official), Burushaski
Visitors must be careful when visiting Karachi, and should not travel on foot. Pakistan has a high threat from terrorism, and western nationals in particular are likely to be targeted!