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The Fate of Harrison Fast

Speed Flying
Speed Flying Can Be Dangerous

I was very peripherally involved in the search for Harrison Fast last spring. He was a young extreme sports enthusiast from Boulder who practiced the new sport of speed flying. This is when you get moving down a mountain slope on skis at a high rate of speed and then deploy a steerable parachute that lifts you up in the air to fly down the mountain. It looks to me to be extremely fun. And dangerous. Harrison disappeared near Jungfrau in Switzerland while speed flying with a group of companions.

After his companions lost sight of Harrison and he failed to contact them, they knew something needed to be done. However, they found themselves in a quandary: Harrison and his companions were doing something that is illegal in the park. This may have caused them to avoid reporting it to the authorities right away, although it is highly unlikely this made any difference in Harrison’s fate. Authorities in Switzerland were reluctant to search in what was turning into marginal weather conditions for a helicopter, the only practical means of finding him.

His family and the Boulder company he worked for organized an extensive effort headquarted in Colorado to search for him, utilizing hobby unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to search. They were able to acquire the drones and the people to fly them, and got them to Switzerland. Their search effort was both innovative and resourceful, though in the end they had no more clues than when they started.

Soon they ran out of time and funds and accepted the inevitable. It was a very sad ending for someone who was so obviously loved by many.

Posted in Colorado 14er Disasters by with comments disabled.