Which is the most dangerous sport, in terms of fatalities?

According to Bandolier, an independent healthcare journal, the most dangerous sport, in terms of fatalities, is BASE jumping, in which the risk of death is 1 in 2,317 jumps. BASE is, of course, an acronym that stands for Buildings, Antennae, Spans and Earth, which are the types of fixed objects from which participants may leap before parachuting to the ground.

In many jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, there is no specific legislation prohibiting BASE jumping, but the sport is still subject to common laws, such as trespass and public endangerment. However, BASE jumping ‘is not considered part of sport parachuting’ by British Skydiving, formerly the British Parachute Association and, as such, is completely unregulated.

Furthermore, while skydivers jump from a minimum altitude of at least 3,000 feet, and often higher, and are equipped with both a main parachute and a reserve parachute, BASE jumpers typically jump from altitudes between 150 and 500 feet and are equipped with just a single parachute. Consequently, BASE jumpers have just a few seconds to orient their bodies before deploying their parachute, which makes the sport an altogether riskier proposition than skydiving. Approximately 38% of BASE jumping fatalities occur without a parachute being deployed at all, for whatever reason.

By comparison, Bandolier quotes figures between 1 in 101,083 and 1 in 125,189 jumps for the risk of death involved in skydiving, which are in the same ball park as the 1 in 116,000 quote for hang gliding. Indeed, the risk of dying associated with swimming, cycling or running is higher than that associated with skydiving or hang gliding, but BASE jumpers are approximately 24 times more likely to suffer a fatality than participants in any other sport.

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