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Oregon base jumper dies in leap from 1,000-foot tower

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SILVERTON, Oregon (KPTV) — A 38-year-old man from Portland died when he attempted a base jump from a tower near Silverton, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

Friends of Zachary Sommer called police around 7 a.m. Thursday when they became worried something bad had happened to him. He had called them the night before to tell them he was heading out for a base jump, but he never called them back.

Deputies responded to the tower and found Sommer dead.

The tower in question is about 1,000 feet high and it’s on private property. The sheriff’s office said it would not be releasing the exact location of the tower.

Marion County sheriff’s deputy Steve Cooper, who the sheriff’s office said is an experienced base jumper, believes Sommer grabbed a lanyard as well as the handle to deploy his pilot parachute.

“It was coming out from under his jacket, and it’s very possible when he grabbed his pilot chute, he also grabbed that. And that would certainly interfere with doing a proper pull,” said Cooper.

There are no legal locations for base jumping within Marion County, according to the sheriff’s office, but deputies said there are websites that list legal options for base jumping.

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