Skydivers achieve ‘dream’ by completing wingsuit flight through Tower Bridge

Two professional skydivers said successfully completing the world’s first wingsuit flight through London’s Tower Bridge was a “dream come true”.

Austrian Red Bull skydivers Marco Furst, 33, and Marco Waltenspiel, 39, jumped from a helicopter at 3,000 feet high on Sunday morning, diving down to 35 metres above the River Thames.

They soared through Tower Bridge and completed a complex manoeuvre known as a ‘flare,’ to rise up again to 80 metres, the height required to open their parachutes before landing safely.

From take-off to landing, the wingsuit flight lasted 45 seconds, covering a distance of 1.2 kilometres and reaching a top speed of 246 kilometres per hour.

Mr Furst told the PA news agency: “It was incredible, a dream come true for sure.

“It was intense from the beginning – we took off on the helicopter 20 minutes before and then we flew into London, the sunrise was amazing, the city looked so good,” Waltenspiel added.

Austrian Red Bull skydivers Marco Furst and Marco Waltenspiel jumped from a helicopter at 3,000 feet high on Sunday morning (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)
Austrian Red Bull skydivers Marco Furst and Marco Waltenspiel jumped from a helicopter at 3,000 feet high on Sunday morning (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)

“We approached the bridge and then we were in the zone and we went for it.”

Wingsuit flying allows jumpers to glide horizontally at high speeds before landing safely on the ground using a parachute.

The pair did more than 200 practice jumps for the challenge and underwent training at a ground in Oxfordshire, which featured two cranes to mimic the dimensions of the Tower Bridge.

The pair said they were nervous but focused before the jump.

Marco Fuerst of Austria flies through Tower Bridge in London (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)
Marco Fuerst of Austria flies through Tower Bridge in London (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)

“We had to get up at 3am, so we had four to five hours of sleep, so for me to go to bed was actually a bit difficult because you feel the excitement the day before,” Mr Furst said.

“Once we were in the helicopter, we prepared everything and we both knew, OK now it’s time to shine, right, and everything was calm and it was really cool to do the jump.”

“If it’s something that you really want and you work for such a long time to do it, to do it good, to do it safe, it’s incredible,” Mr Waltenspiel added.

Marco Waltenspiel of Austria celebrates after flying through Tower Bridge in London (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)
Marco Waltenspiel of Austria celebrates after flying through Tower Bridge in London (Joerg Mitter/Red Bull/PA)

“We are super happy, super stoked, everything went well and everyone is happy,” he said after the jump.

Mr Furst said: “I just feel amazing. The jump was beautiful and everything worked out really good.

“I really enjoyed the journey and I’m really grateful to work with Marco and such a good team to bring our dream to life.”

The two men are part of the Red Bull Skydive Team and have completed more than 22,000 jumps between them in places like Croatia’s heart-shaped island Galesnjak and downhill ski run The Streif in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Explaining his favourite aspect of skydiving, Mr Furst said: “For me personally, it’s the freedom, because if you jump out of a helicopter, you can basically do what you want – you can fly to the left, to the right, up, down – so it’s pure freedom for me.”

A spokesperson for Red Bull said Tower Bridge had been closed for the jump and told PA: “Red Bull worked closely with all the relevant authorities, had all authorisations in place for this World First and ensured that the jump was carried out to the highest safety standards.”