Four daredevils do a BASE jump from Rialto Towers after cocktails at Vue de monde bar
UPDATE: FOUR daredevils dressed in business suits ordered cocktails before they were seen BASE jumping from the Rialto Towers in Melbourne's CBD on Tuesday night.
The group of thrill-seekers reportedly made the leap from the 243-metre skyscraper about 7.30pm, freefalling before opening their parachutes for a soft landing.
They had been drinking at the prestigious Vue de monde restaurant – on Level 55 of the 56-floor building – before the jump.
Restaurant owner Shannon Bennett said the four men - wearing business suits - walked into the venue’s Lui Bar with travel suitcases and ordered Negroni cocktails before throwing themselves off the building.
"Basically, four guys came upstairs with parachutes hidden underneath their jackets," Mr Bennett said.
"We don’t allow anyone to bring any baggage upstairs so basically we asked them to take the baggage off them.
"They said they needed it for a presentation they were doing in the function and we told them to obviously get the gear out for the presentation and they proceeded to do so.
“They ordered some drinks at the bar.
“One went to the bathroom, followed by the rest, straight out to the balcony and pretty much jumped straight off.”
Listen as Shannon Bennett describes the brazen stunt
Mr Bennett said the men locked the balcony doors behind them so staff couldn’t catch them before they made the plunge.
“I ran from the kitchen into the room and I just saw a flash of them jumping over, and at that stage none of us knew what the hell was going on," he said.
"The only thing that gave it away which I didn’t see was they were wearing helmets with cameras on them, and that’s what was in the suitcase."
The acclaimed chef said there was a getaway vehicle waiting on the corner of Collins and King Sts when they landed.
“I didn’t see them get into the car but there was definitely a car downstairs waiting for them. I tried to run downstairs and try and catch them.
“It was just too late, they were just really quick at what they were doing, it was just very well planned and they’ve obviously done this sort of stuff before.
"They had cameras on their helmets so I’m sure we’ll all see it on YouTube pretty soon.
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“We all reacted with a fair bit of calmness because we’ve actually had training for this, it’s happened before at Rialto, happened several times before we’d taken over Vue de monde.
“We all knew what to do. We just wanted to make sure first of all that they were safe, that was the first protocol, getting downstairs, making sure there were no accidents, that everything was alright,” he said.
Mr Bennett said he would have to increase security measures and possibly close off the balcony for a period of time.
“We thought our plan was pretty good..." he said.
“These guys that jumped last night looked at our security measures, because we’ve got pretty good security measures up there, they knew exactly what they were doing.
Mr Bennett said BASE jumping was commonly attempted from the skyscraper.
“Last time it happened one of the guys actually landed on King St a couple of years ago, and actually tipped a truck over, so it can get pretty dangerous.
“People all the time threaten to do it, mostly not sinister but for a bit of fun – what they call fun anyway.”
Mr Bennett said the venue would use a combination of CCTV and YouTube to hunt the daredevils down, and that police were also investigating.
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Police slam 'reckless' stunt
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe criticised the stunt, saying BASE jumping was extremely dangerous and reckless.
“It’s not cool, it’s stupid,” Mr Walshe said.
He said the force’s legal experts were looking at legislation on the issue and that the issues of smuggling parachutes under jackets was an issue for building proprietors and their tenants.
Witness Nick Peterson was canoeing on the Yarra River past Crown Casino when he saw the rare spectacle.
“It was certainly the highlight of the night,” Mr Peterson said.
“We were just coming back up the river and my wife, who was very observant, saw the first person’s parachute coming down.
“We just stopped rowing and sat in them middle of the river and three more had jumped from the top of the Rialto.
“It definitely happened, it was just amazing to see it.”
Another witness, who refused to be named, said he was staring from his Spencer St apartment window when he heard screaming and saw a man fall past.
“I thought I was going mad. I turned around and saw it again,” the CBD resident said.
BASE jumpers leap from fixed objects, using a parachute to break their fall. "BASE" stands for the type of objects they jump from: buildings, aerials, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).