A French stuntman famous for flying over the world’s tallest building with an engine and carbon-fibre wings strapped to his back has died in training.
Vincent Reffet, 36, was one of Dubai’s ‘jetmen’ and went viral for flights over the Gulf city’s waterfront alongside a jumbo jet.
He was killed during training in the deserts of the Arabian sheikhdom, Jetman Dubai said in a statement.
The organisation did not give any further details but said it was ‘working closely with all relevant authorities’.
‘Vince was a talented athlete, and a much-loved and respected member of our team,’ its statement said.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him.’
In one of Reffet’s viral stunts, he base-jumped off the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828 metres (2,716ft) in Dubai, setting a world record.
He won gold medals while competing as a free-flying skydiver and competed as an extreme sports athlete for Red Bull.
The thrills were in his blood as his parents were also skydivers. ‘I believe that if you dream big and if you love what you do, everything is possible,’ Reffet was quoted as saying.
But the public in Dubai came to know Reffet as part of Jetman Dubai.
The organisation, founded by Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy, sees its athletes zip across the sky with a four-engine, carbon-Kevlar wing strapped to their backs.
The wings can fly for 50 kilometres (30 miles), have a maximum speed of more than 400kph (248mph), and can reach an altitude of 6,100 metres (20,000ft).
Famously in 2015, Reffet and Rossy flew alongside an Emirates Airbus A380 double-decker jetliner over Dubai.
‘It’s the sensation of freedom. Already, you know, when I am skydiving, I have like this feeling of freedom I can like pretty much go where I want but always going down,’ Reffet told AP at the time.
‘With this machine … I can fly like a bird.’
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