Dubai ‘jetman’ Vincent Reffet killed in training incident

MALAYSIA-LIFESTYLE-BASEJUMPING

One of Dubai's "jetmen", whose flights over the world's tallest building and alongside a jumbo jet with engines strapped to his back wowed watchers online, has died while training, his organisation said.

Vincent Reffet, 36, of Annecy, France, was killed during training in the deserts of the Arabian sheikhdom, Jetman Dubai said in a statement.

The organisation did not elaborate, though it 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.

Vince Reffet flies over Dubai's Palm Island in 2015
Vincent Reffet flies over Dubai's Palm Island in 2015 (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and worked with him."

Dubai police did not immediately acknowledge the incident.

The United Arab Emirates' General Civil Aviation Authority, which investigates all aviation incidents in the federation of seven sheikhdoms, did not immediately return a call for comment.

Reffet had Base-jumped off the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building at 828 metres (2,716ft) in Dubai, setting a world record.

Base is an acronym for building, antenna, span and earth.

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French wingsuit jumper Vince Reffet, member of the 'Soul Flyers', poses during a photo session in Paris on September 22, 2020. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE - In this May 12, 2015 file photo, former Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, known as a "jetman," right, and his protege Vince Reffet, prepare for a fly in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Reffet, one of Dubai’s “jetmen,” whose flights over the world's tallest building and alongside a jumbo jet with engines strapped to his back wowed watchers online, died Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, while training in the deserts of the Arabian sheikhdom, his organization said. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, base jumper Vince Reffet, of France, leaps from the 300-meter Open Deck of the Malaysia's landmark, Kuala Lumpur Tower during the International Tower Jump in Kuala Lumpur. Reffet, one of Dubai's "jetmen," whose flights over the world's tallest building and alongside a jumbo jet with engines strapped to his back wowed watchers online, died Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, while training in the deserts of the Arabian sheikhdom, his organization said. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)
Vince Reffet, a team member of Swiss pilot Yves Rossy, known as Jetman, opens his parachute during a performance at Tanagra air base, north of Athens, on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. The performance is part of an annual airshow, known as Athens Flying Week, which hosts aerobatic teams from several countries. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
French wingsuit jumpers Fred Fugen (R) and Vince Reffet (L), also known as the 'Soul Flyers', pose during a photo session on November 28, 2017 in Paris. - Having been working together for 15 years, the triple world champions in freefly skydiving have just reached another level in their performance: to enter a plane in full flight. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)
Vince Reffet of team Jetman Dubai prepares to land during the Athens Flying Week aviation event over the Tanagra air base in northern Athens, Greece, September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Vince Reffet of team Jetman Dubai performs during the Athens Flying Week aviation event over the Tanagra air base in northern Athens, Greece, September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
People watch as Vince Reffet of team Jetman Dubai prepares to land during the Athens Flying Week aviation event over the Tanagra air base in northern Athens, Greece, September 18, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
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He earlier earned gold medals while competing as a free-flying skydiver on a team and competed as an extreme athlete sponsored by 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 50 kilometres (30 miles), have a maximum speed of more than 400kph (248mph) and can reach an altitude of 6,100 metres (20,000ft).

Under the brand of XDubai, which is associated with the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the jetmen have flown past the Burj Khalifa and other sites around the city-state.

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 the Associated Press in 2015.

"With this machine ... I can fly like a bird."

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