Into the void: the fast life and shocking death of a wingsuit-flying superstar Into the void: the fast life and shocking death of a wingsuit-flying superstar - ImagesGram

Into the void: the fast life and shocking death of a wingsuit-flying superstar

Alexander Polli was an adrenaline junkie, a daredevil who could fly through holes in rockfaces at 150mph. Our writer tells the extraordinary story of Base, a new film starring Polli that had to be delayed when he was killed by the sport he loved
One week after his wingsuit-flying partner died, Carlos Briceño Schutte launched himself into the void holding an inflatable pig. The drop from the Aiguille du Midi, the 3,842m peak that towers over the French alpine town of Chamonix, had been one of Alexander Polli’s favourites. It was only right, says Schutte, to fly it in remembrance – accompanied by his friend’s spirit animal. “He was sometimes a little bit fat, not doing much exercise,” says Schutte. “I was like, ‘You’re not an eagle, bro. You’re a pig.’”
Polli, who was just 31 when he died last year, was the Jimi Hendrix of wingsuit-flying, the supremely dangerous sport whose elite are revered like rock stars, thanks to the eye-watering feats they perform. Polli, like Schutte, had taught himself by trial and error to use the nylon-webbed suits that allow base-jumpers to ascend to the next terrifying level. Launching themselves from peaks and helicopters, they cut horizontally through the air at speeds that can exceed 200mph, “proximity-flying” just inches from rockfaces and buildings. There is little room for error on such high-octane flights – and none whatsoever on the 2013 stunt with which Polli made his name: threading the needle of a 25ft hole in a rockface in Spain’s Montserrat mountains, an accomplishment unusually extreme even by wingsuit standards.