Norwegian Eiliv Ruud plunged 1,000 feet to his death when his parachute failed to open after he struck a vertical cliff and spiraled out of control.
Eiliv Ruud, 37, was taking part in a BASE jump near the Grand Canyon, but two other jumpers were forced to watch helplessly as the stunt went tragically wrong.
BASE jumping is an activity in which participants leap off tall, static objects and use a parachute to break their fall.
The accident took place at Salt Trail Canyon, in northern Arizona, on Tuesday.
The term “BASE” is an acronym for “buildings, antennas, spans and earth”.
“Mr. Ruud was the first one to jump, and the other two watched. When he had fallen a distance of about 500 feet, it appeared that a gust of wind blew him against the canyon wall,” said sheriff’s spokesman Gerry Blair.
Eiliv Ruud’s parachute failed to deploy fully, and the contact “pretty much caused him to spiral down the rest” of the way, Gerry Blair said.
Eiliv Ruud was pronounced dead at the scene.
Salt Trail Canyon flanks the Little Colorado River, one of the largest tributaries of the Colorado River that flows through the Grand Canyon.
Gerry Blair said Eiliv Ruud and the other Norwegian man and woman had previously visited the area, which is popular with BASE jumpers.
Gerry Blair said BASE jump fatalities in Coconino County were infrequent.
Rescue crews were flown in and had to hike into the canyon to reach Eiliv Ruud, who was confirmed dead.