Skydiving World Record smashed by Polish American duo
The Guinness world altitude record for a tandem parachute jump by skydiving from a staggering 11,373 meters was broken by American Jim Wigginton and Pole Arkadiusz ‘Maya’ Majewski as the pilot. The two former soldiers were accompanied by cameraman Wiktor Drewnik for the stratospheric jump from a balloon.
The decision to achieve this feat came after seventy-year-old Wigginton’s wife, Nancy Punya, died from cancer several years ago. He set up the Punya Thyroid Cancer Research Foundation to help patients with oncological problems and to raise awareness of the illness, the retired soldier decided to break a world parachute jump record. Initially wanting to do a solo record, he finally settled on tandem Skydiving and created a world record
Jumps from the stratosphere, the second layer around the Earth are especially dangerous. Parachutists need to be equipped with breathing apparatus as the thin air makes it hard for jumpers to control their bodies for the first ten 10 seconds after leaving the balloon, while the braking and stabilizing parachute can’t fill properly due to the low air density. The temperature also falls below -60 degrees Celsius.
At an altitude of 11 kilometers, the team suffered from symptoms of hypoxia – a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues. Majewski had problems reading the onboard instruments, while Wigginton lost consciousness at one point. He regained it just before it was time to walk down the ramp and jump.
Afterwards, the pair free fell for two minutes, reaching a speed of about 360 kmph. Then, with an open parachute, they glided for about six minutes and landed 39 kilometers from their designated landing zone.