Sunday 18 February 2018

Daredevil seeks space leap backing

Steve Truglia is hoping to leap from the edge of space
Steve Truglia is hoping to leap from the edge of space
Steve Truglia is hoping to leap from the edge of space

A British stuntman is hoping to leap from the edge of space to break the long-standing world record for the highest parachute jump.

Steve Truglia has made an urgent appeal for sponsorship to complete his dream, which would see him break the speed of sound as he free-falls to Earth.

The appeal comes days after Austrian extreme sportsman Felix Baumgartner announced an attempt on the 50-year-old record, backed by Red Bull.

Mr Truglia said he has been planning the leap for 15 years and invested more than £100,000 of his own money. But the 47-year-old, from Wanstead in east London, still needs £500,000.

Mr Truglia said he can be ready to jump in three to four months after further testing on his light-weight balloon and pressurised space suit.

Over the years several attempts have been made on the record, set by American Joe Kittinger 50 years ago. The United States Air Force Colonel leapt from a balloon at 102,800ft.

Mr Truglia said he will ascend to the edge of space seated in an open Kevlar box below a light-weight balloon. "It's the ultimate. As a professional stuntman I can't think of a bigger or better stunt. I'll be sitting in a chair looking out at the world."

He estimated his chances of survival at 98%, saying: "I throw that 2% in because you are in a very dangerous environment, you are in a hostile place and you are reliant on your equipment."

Mr Truglia said that on leaving the balloon he would reach speeds of more than 700mph in the first 11-15 seconds. He would become the first human to break the sound barrier, just with the speed of his body.

As the air became denser he would slow down, enjoying up to seven minutes of freefall. Mr Truglia would be risking temperatures of down to -70C. Without his specially-designed suit, the intense pressure could make his blood "boil".

Press Association

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