Looking for something you and 137 of your closest friends could do next weekend? How about whistling through the air at 220 mph, head first, into a giant snowflake formation?
That’s what an Illinois troupe of nearly 140 daredevils accomplished when they took to the skies of Ottawa, Illinois to complete the largest ever group skydive in history. The previous record stood at a comparatively small cohort of 108 divers. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale was on hand to confirm that 138 of the 140 who attempted the stunt successfully completed a 150-foot-wide formation–a feat that followed months of training undertaken by those jumpers selected to make the dangerous descent.
Record setters rode up in six different planes before rocketing into the skies, 18,500 feet above ground. Divers and pilots both used oxygen tanks to combat altitude sickness. Rook Nelson, one of the event’s organizers and owner of Skydive Chicago, where the record was set, spoke about the tremendous safety risks associated with this kind of stunt. If there’s a mishap while diving into formation, Nelson said, ”it’s going to be like someone running a red light and you taking them out.”