x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Balloon skydivers set two world records in Dubai

Two world records for the most people skydiving from a balloon were broken in Dubai last month, Guinness World Records has confirmed.

Skydive Dubai broke records when 40 people parachuted from a single balloon, 25 of which jumped at the same time. Courtesy of Skydive Dubai
Skydive Dubai broke records when 40 people parachuted from a single balloon, 25 of which jumped at the same time. Courtesy of Skydive Dubai

DUBAI // Two world records for the most people skydiving from a balloon were broken in Dubai last month, Guinness World Records confirmed on Friday.

The records were for the most people to skydive from a balloon during a single flight and the most to skydive from a balloon simultaneously.

Skydive Dubai managed to get 40 people to parachute from a single balloon flight on February 10. The previous record of 30 was set by members of Paraclub Flevo, Lelystad in the Netherlands, in 2003.

Of those 40 jumps, 25 were simultaneous, breaking Paraclub Flevo's record of 20.

Talal Omar, from Guinness, said that for a record to be set, the balloon had to be at least 1,828 metres above the ground when the attempt took place. Breathing apparatus was allowed. For the simultaneous diving, the skydivers had to jump within a three-second window.

"We needed the weather to be perfect," said Mike Howard, a Skydive Dubai air balloon pilot. "It took us two weeks, planning [for] and preparing all the scenarios that might happen."

The record attempts took place in a desert drop zone in Mergam, 35 kilometres from Dubai.

One of the main challenges was finding 40 skydivers to take part.

Peter Kollar, the event's main pilot, was also trained on parachute emergency and safety procedures.

"We had no idea what would happen," said Raul Bocanegra, Skydive Dubai's desert campus manager. "The balloon might have become distorted, it could have rocked. We had no idea when it would stabilise."

mswan@thenational.ae