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Skydiver plummets 25,000 feet without a chute, on purpose

By Yvette C. Hammett
Skydiver plummets 25,000 feet without a chute, on purpose
Skydiver Luke Aikins preparing to jump 25,000 feet Saturday without a parachute. He landed in a net while traveling 120 miles per hour above the desert near Simi Valley, Calif.He calls the stunt Heaven Sent. Photo from HeavenSent/Twitter

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., July 31 (UPI) -- A skydiver plummeted 25,000 feet without a parachute Saturday over Simi Valley, Calif. - on purpose.

Luke Aikins landed squarely in the center of a 100-foot by 100-foot, two-tiered net designed to catch him. He was traveling 120 miles per hour upon landing, CNN reported.

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The stunt Aikins calls "Heaven Sent" makes him the world record holder for the highest jump, NPR reported.

Aikins appeared to soar effortlessly above the California desert, arms extended for about two minutes. Just before landing, he rolled on to his back, then plunked into the net, remaining motionless as it was lowered to the ground, at which point he stood and hugged his wife.

Using only the air currents, he completed the free fall to land on the high-tech net.

Aikins said during a broadcast of the stunt that he'd been preparing for it for two years, The 42-year-old had previously completed 18,000 parachute jumps and performed a variety of stunts. He has appeared on the cable television show Iron Man 3.

"Everyone is calling this my 'coming-out jump,' which is ironic considering I've been skydiving since the age of 16," Aikins said in a press release he issued prior to the jump. He is a third-generation skydiver and his family owns Skydive Kapowsin near Tacoma, Wash.

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Aikins is also a safety and training advisor for the United States Parachute Association. He teaches advanced skydiving techniques to military Special Forces.

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