New York City World Trade Center skydivers were arrested and faced charges on Monday stemming from a BASE jumping incident in September 2013 at the One World Trade Center. BASE, which is an acronym that outlines the four categories of fixed objects from which an individual can jump–Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth or cliff jumping. According to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, four New York-area men were facing charges including burglary, which is a felony offense, and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and leaping from a building. All but one of the four men involved are accused of climbing the nation’s tallest building on September 30, 2013 and parachuting nearly 1,400 feet off the landmark, while the fourth man involved in the incident is accused of acting as lookout at the BASE of the tower during the stunt.
Bratton stated that the four New York City-area men involved in the incident, James Brady, Kyle Hartwell, Marko Markovich, and Andrew Rossig, exhibited reckless behavior, violated the law, and placed themselves and others in danger. He went on to say that he hopes “these arrests should send a message to anyone thinking about misusing a landmark this way.” Video footage of the jump shows the three men who participated in the BASE jumping stunt deploying their parachutes and landing in a secluded area on a nearby highway. At the time of the incident, Brady was employed as a construction worker assigned to work at the One World Trade Center site.
One of the attorneys representing the New York City World Trade Center BASE jumpers that were arrested and charged with various offenses in the wake of the incident has reviewed the video footage and contends that the three men who participated in the BASE jump were professional and controlled. There was nothing haphazard or reckless involved in the jump. Additionally, the attorney went on to say that the four men gained access to the area through a hole in a fence surrounding the landmark. Moreover, he stated that his client was astonished by the complete lack of security overseeing the landmark. It was effortless to access the area in which the New York City mayor had just recently described as the number one terrorist target in the world.
Video footage was obtained from around One World Trade Center, as well as other electronic and photographic evidence, including home searches of the four men involved, which produced video footage of the stunt. The charges come less than a week after a second break-in by a 16-year-old New Jersey teen, Justin Casquejo, who accessed the landmark and breached security. Casquejo is accused of sneaking into the building and taking an elevator to the top of the structure. It remains unclear whether the teenager gained access to the landmark using the same hole as the BASE jumpers. Moreover, a third incident occurred on Tuesday when Port Authority police arrested two CNN producers and held them for trying to breach security at the site. According to CNN, the men were in the area to do a story about the recent security breaches and were not asked to trespass onto the site.
The New York City World Trade Center skydivers, who were arrested and charged following a BASE jumping stunt in September 2013, were arraigned on late Monday night and face misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and jumping from a building, as well as felony burglary. One World Trade Center was erected on ground zero in memorial to the original World Trade Center, which is where the twin towers were obliterated and several thousands of innocent victims and rescue workers lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in the deadliest terrorist attack to occur on U.S. soil. The September 11 attacks altered the landscape and lives of the American people and the global community in a profound and lasting way that continues to resonant today.
By Leigh Haugh