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Search continues for missing BASE jumpers

A search is on for two trained jumpers who leaped off of Bixby Bridge in Big Sur last week, a Monterey County sheriff’s spokesman said Tuse day.

Mary Katherine “Katie” Connell and a Finland man are BASE jumpers who went about 300 feet down from the bridge sometime Wednesday morning and have not been found as of this morning, sheriff’s Cmdr. John Thornburg said.

BASE stands for building, antenna, span and earth, which is one of the four types of objects a jumper can leap from, then use a parachute to help them land on the ground, according to Thornburg.

Deputies learned the pair was missing on Saturday while they investigated an abandoned rental car connected with the jumpers, Thornburg said.

A video captured on a camera strapped to one of their helmets showed Connell land in the surf and get swept away by ocean waves, according to Thornburg.

Connell, a Ventura woman in her mid to late 20s, has experienced more than 300 jumps, according to Thornburg.

The man safely landed and attempted to save Connell, Thornburg said.

Both jumpers have not been found as of Tuesday morning and investigators suspect they have drowned, according to Thornburg.

The sheriff’s office sent divers and a plane earlier this week to look for the jumpers, Thornburg said.

Investigators have also requested a helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard today to help in the search, according to Thornburg.

Sheriff’s officials are dissuading the public from BASE jumping since there are risks if their parachute doesn’t deploy in time because of the short distance from where they jump to the ground, Thornburg said.

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