Photographer's moment of madness as he leaps across 8ft gap - 1 mile deep in the Grand Canyon
23rd May 2008
This is the heart-stopping moment a daring photographer leapt between two rocky outcrops over the Grand Canyon - with drop of nearly a mile beneath him.
A crowd of onlookers gasped in horror as the man - who was wearing flimsy flip-flops - risked his life to capture a stunning shot of the Arizona sunset.
Deadly risk: The unidentified tourist jumps a chasm at the Grand Canyon
Minutes earlier, the unknown daredevil had been casually sunbathing on a rock column.
He had already made the leap once to get to the smaller rock - although that act of daring went unwitnessed.
Once there, he made the most of it by downing a six-pack of beer while relaxing on the outcrop for several hours.
However, as sunset approached, a crowd of tourists gathered and watched as the man took a perfect shot of the canyon.
Fearless: The photographer sets up his tripod on a perilous pinnacle of rock
To their astonishment, he then simply tucked the camera and tripod under his arm and leapt back across the 8ft gap.
He grasped hold of the opposing rock face with just one hand and momentarily lost his grip before climbing to safety.
For those who find their heart skipping a beat just looking at these photographs, it may of some comfort to know that the two rocks are actually joined together lower down.
One, two, three, jump! The man takes his life in his hands as he makes the leap
However, there is still a life-threatening drop of around 20ft on the near, 'safer' side of the rocks. On the far side, the drop is about 0.6miles.
The photos were taken by amateur Dutch photographer Hans van de Vorst, 47, who visited the spot on holiday.
When he arrived at the scene the man, dressed in jeans, t-shirt and flip-flops, was lounging on the rock column around 15ft from the edge of the canyon.
Mr van de Vorst, a marketing consultant from Veenendaal in central Holland, watched as the man set up his tripod and captured the last minutes of the sunset, before
casually finishing his beer, packing up his equipment and making the leap.
'When we arrived he was just taking in the scenery and people were discussing how he managed to get on there in the first place,' he said.
'Nobody even bothered with the sunset - everyone's eyes were on this man and how he was going to get off the rock.
'He looked really relaxed and casually stood up before jumping across the gap.
'There was complete silence as he packed his things up and then a few gasps when he jumped.
'He didn't grab the rock properly the first time and slipped back about 50cm (20 inches) before clinging onto it. Even then he didn't look fazed.'
Terrifying: Tripod under one arm, the daredevil leaper clings desperately to the far wall after making his jump
Mr van de Vorst posted the pictures on the Internet in a bid to track down the mystery man, but no-one has come forward.
The Grand Canyon - which straddles the Colorado River - is 277 miles long and ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles with a depth of more than a mile at its deepest point.
It is one of the deepest in the world and is famous for its array of bright reds and oranges, which are caused by the unusual geological formations.The dramatic pictures were taken at The Grand Viewpoint at the Grand Canyon's South Rim.