Wingsuit scientist dies in Saudi Arabia base jump

image sourceJess Ratty
image captionDr Angelo Grubisic was taking part in a planned event in Saudi Arabia when he died

A university lecturer and space scientist who worked to design safer wingsuits has died in a base jumping accident, his family has confirmed.

Dr Angelo Grubisic, 38, was taking part in a planned jump in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday when he was killed.

The astronautical engineer had led a wingsuit design team at the University of Southampton and was crowned a British wingsuit champion in July.

In a statement, his family described him as "phenomenally talented".

They added: "Angelo lost his life doing what he loved the most, wingsuit base jumping, and we want to ensure his achievements and ambitions are known to the world and to celebrate the mark he made on all of our lives.

"Angelo captivated the hearts and minds of every single person who was privileged to meet and work with him.

"'The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long' has never rung more true to the family and friends Angelo had across the world."

image sourceAngelo Grubisic
image captionDr Grubisic had performed base jumps around the world

The University of Southampton said: "We are extremely saddened and shocked by the death of Angelo and our thoughts are with his family at this terrible time.

"Angelo made many pioneering contributions to the University's research into astronautics and was incredibly popular with his students and colleagues."

In 2015 Dr Grubisic set up the Icarus project at the university which was attempting to design a wingsuit to break world records while improving safety.

He had previously worked on spacecraft propulsion for both NASA and the European Space Agency, and was a consultant engineer for the European Space Agency's BepiColombo mission to Mercury in 2018.

Earlier this year Dr Grubisic gave evidence at an inquest into the death of Rob Haggarty, who died in 2018 when he lost control during a wingsuit jump in Italy.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: "Our consular staff are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Saudi Arabia, and are in contact with the local authorities."

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