Injured jumper

St. Luke’s air ambulance takes off Thursday at Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls. The helicopter was sent into the canyon to assist a BASE jumper that crashed into a boulder on the north side of the Snake River, east of the I.B. Perrine Bridge. John McDonald, of Orlando, Fla., was taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center by ground transport and treated for a broken leg.


TWIN FALLS — An out-of-state BASE jumper broke his leg when his chute tangled and drove him into a boulder at the river’s edge.

John McDonald, 56, of Orlando, Fla., jumped from the I.B. Perrine Bridge at about noon Thursday.

Robin Hildebrand, of Bellevue, Wash., witnessed the accident from the Snake River Canyon’s south rim, east of the bridge.

“His chute tangled and he couldn’t control it,” Robin Hildebrand said, pointing to a talus field across the river in Jerome County. “He hit a large rock.”

Her husband, Bruce Hildebrand, was on the bridge filming a group of BASE jumpers when the accident happened. He missed McDonald’s launch, but saw the crash landing.

After hitting the boulder, McDonald fell into the river, said Lori Stewart, spokeswoman for the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office.

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“There was a boat right there that picked him up,” he said. Other BASE jumpers followed and accompanied McDonald on the private boat downstream to Centennial Waterfront Park, where rescuers were waiting.

The Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Twin Falls Fire Department and Magic Valley Paramedics responded. An air ambulance from St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center landed in the parking lot at Centennial, but McDonald was taken by ground to St. Luke’s, said Brian Cunningham, Twin Falls Fire Department battalion chief.

McDonald’s injuries are not life-threatening, Stewart said.


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