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Dutch police are investigating how the body of skydiver Mark van den Boogaard lay undetected in a field for more than a week.

Mark van den Boogaard was not reported missing and his body was discovered by chance by rabbit hunters. His parachute had failed to open.

He organized his jump with the largest skydiving club in the Netherlands.

But the club said it had not launched a search as it was not usual for skydivers to report back after their jump.

Police information officer Anton De Ronde said a local team had visited Mark van den Boogaard’s family to inform them, but that he was not close to any of his relatives – which is, the police believe, why no-one reported him missing.

Dutch police are investigating how the body of skydiver Mark van den Boogaard lay undetected in a field for more than a week

Dutch police are investigating how the body of skydiver Mark van den Boogaard lay undetected in a field for more than a week

Simon Woerlee, manager of the Nationaal Paracentrum skydiving club, in the village of Teuge in Gelderland province, described his members as “shocked”.

He described Mark van den Boogaard as “a friendly and happy man, but a loner, someone who did not really talk to anyone and was always on his own”.

He was self-employed, so no-one from work called to see why he was absent.

Mark van den Boogaard was a regular and relatively experienced skydiver, according to club records, completing approximately 120 jumps since joining up in summer 2011.


The Royal Netherlands Aeronautical Association is examining the equipment to try to work out why neither the main chute or the reserve chute opened.

Simon Woerlee of the parachute club said there was no system to make sure that a jump had been completed safely.

“We never check, there is no law, no regulations,” he said.

“They have tried it in America but it didn’t work. Sometimes people come back to the club for a cup of tea and a chat, but sometimes they just pack up and leave.

“If you are forced to find out where everyone is, there can be a big drama for nothing. You can call all the emergency rescue teams and helicopters, then discover the person is sitting at home having tea with his granddad – that has happened before.”

Skydiver Felix Baumgartner smashed a number of records with his “edge of space” stunt – including for live streaming.

More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch the 43-year-old break the speed of sound live on Google’s YouTube site.

It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the website’s history, Google confirmed.

Austrian Felix Baumgartner also broke the record for the highest freefall.

He jumped from a capsule taken to 128,100ft (24 miles; 39 km) above New Mexico in the US by a giant helium balloon.

It took nine minutes for him to reach the ground.

The adventurer plummeted at an estimated 833.9 mph (1,343 km/h), hitting Mach 1.24.

“On the step, I felt that the whole world is watching,” Felix Baumgartner said after the jump.

“I said I wish they would see what I see. It was amazing.”

More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch Felix Baumgartner break the speed of sound live on YouTube

More than eight million people flocked to their devices to watch Felix Baumgartner break the speed of sound live on YouTube

The capsule from which the skydiver fell was equipped with cameras to provide a live internet feed to millions of people around the world.

A Google spokesperson confirmed that the number of viewers simultaneously watching the Red Bull Stratos stunt live on YouTube was the site’s highest.

“We congratulate Felix Baumgartner and the entire Red Bull Stratos team for their successful mission, and for creating a live stream with the most concurrent views ever on YouTube,” the company said on its blog.

In comparison, about 8.3 million people accessed the BBC’s sport website on the first day of this year’s Olympic Games.

Other technology used to record the event will have a more long-term application. Felix Baumgartner’s body was monitored during the jump using equipment from Equivital, a small UK company.

A system strapped to the skydiver’s chest wirelessly transmitted data about his heartbeat, respiration, skin temperature and other vital signs.

“It’s a major coup for Equivital, which, despite its small size – currently only 25 employees – provides the US Army with its human body monitoring system,” the company said.

The Red Bull Stratos scientists said the stunt had provided invaluable data for the development of high-performance, high-altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned would inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft passing through the stratosphere.

“Part of this programme was to show high-altitude egress, passing through Mach and a successful re-entry back [to subsonic speed], because our belief scientifically is that’s going to benefit future private space programmes or high-altitude pilots, and Felix proved that today,” said Art Thompson, the team principal.

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Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound, reaching a maximum velocity of 833.9 mph (1,342 km/h).

In jumping out of a balloon 128,100 ft (24 miles; 39 km) above New Mexico, Felix Baumgartner, 43, also smashed the record for the highest ever freefall.

Felix Baumgartner said he almost aborted the dive because his helmet visor fogged up.

It took just under 10 minutes for him to descend. Only the last few thousand feet were negotiated by parachute.

Once down, he fell to his knees and raised his fists in triumph. Helicopter recovery teams were on hand moments later.

“Let me tell you – when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don’t think about breaking records anymore, you don’t think about gaining scientific data – the only thing that you want is to come back alive,” Felix Baumgartner said afterwards at a media conference.

None of the new marks set by Felix Baumgartner can be classed as “official” until endorsed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

Its representative was the first to greet the skydiver on the ground. GPS data recorded on to a microcard in Felix Baumgartner’s chest pack will form the basis for the height and speed claims that are made.

These will be submitted formally through the Aerosport Club of Austria for certification.

Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound

Felix Baumgartner has become the first skydiver to go faster than the speed of sound

There was concern early in the dive that Felix Baumgartner was in trouble. He was supposed to get himself into a delta position – head down, arms swept back – as soon as possible after leaving his capsule. But the video showed him tumbling over and over.

Eventually, however, the Austrian was able to use his great experience, from more than 2,500 career dives, to correct his fall and get into a stable configuration.

Even before this drama, it was thought the mission might have to be called off. As he went through last-minute checks inside the capsule, it was found that a heater for his visor was not working. This meant the visor fogged up as he exhaled.

“This is very serious, Joe,” he told retired US Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger, whose records he was attempting to break, and who was acting as his radio link in mission control at Roswell airport.

The team took a calculated risk to proceed after understanding why the problem existed.

Felix Baumgartner’s efforts have finally toppled records that have stood for more than 50 years.

Joe Kittinger set his marks for the highest, farthest, and longest freefall when he leapt from a helium envelope in 1960. His altitude was 102,800 ft (31 km). (His record for the longest freefall remains intact – Joe Kittinger fell for more than four and a half minutes before deploying his chute; Felix Baumgartner was in freefall for four minutes and 20 seconds).

Joe Kittinger, now an octogenarian, has been an integral part of Felix Baumgartner’s team, and has provided the Austrian with advice and encouragement whenever the younger man has doubted his ability to complete such a daring venture.

“Felix did a great job and it was a great honor to work with this brave guy,” the elder man said.

The 43-year-old adventurer – best known for leaping off skyscrapers – first discussed seriously the possibility of beating Joe Kittinger’s records in 2005.

Since then, Felix Baumgartner has had to battle technical and budgetary challenges to make it happen.

What he was proposing was extremely dangerous, even for a man used to those skyscraper stunts.

At Sunday’s jump altitude, the air pressure is less than 2% of what it is at sea level, and it is impossible to breathe without an oxygen supply.

Others who have tried to break the records have lost their lives in the process.

Felix Baumgartner’s team built him a special pressurized capsule to protect him on the way up, and for his descent he wore a next generation, full pressure suit made by the same company that prepares the flight suits of astronauts.

Although the jump had the appearance of another Felix Baumgartner stunt, his team stressed its high scientific relevance.

The researchers on the Red Bull Stratos project say it has already provided invaluable data for the development of high-performance, high-altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned will inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft, passing through the stratosphere.

NASA and its spacecraft manufacturers have asked to be kept informed.

“Part of this programme was to show high-altitude egress, passing through Mach and a successful re-entry back [to subsonic speed], because our belief scientifically is that’s going to benefit future private space programmes or high-altitude pilots; and Felix proved that today,” said Art Thompson, the team principal.

A BBC/National Geographic documentary is being made about the project and will probably be aired in November.

Felix Baumgartner’s jump in numbers:

• Exit altitude: 128,100 ft; 39,045 m

• Total jump duration: 9’03”

• Freefall time: 4’20”

• Freefall distance 119,846 ft; 36,529 m

• Max velocity: 833.9 mph; 1,342.8 km/h; Mach 1.24

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