Heres Darrens story of jumping 'the big one', sent to me April 2008
Well.....you might be pleased to hear I managed to jump the **** *****i on Friday night ...or rather early Saturday am
Here's the lowdown....
Got a bit of 'lower' activity in between scoping the big boy out for a couple of days.....outer perimeter has several gates...all manned /patrolled 24hrs. - 2-3 guards each gate
Construction going on 24hrs....non stop....and very busy site...because its not just the burj dubai thats being built....its the whole surrounding area.....there are 3 sixty story skyscrapers immediately close by and another 7 50 stories B's goping up right next door to that site.....all working 24hrs.
A straight sneak in at the mo is out of the questions.....there are workers /site security everywhere.....I;d have to pass through them to get to the Burj which is bang in the middle of the whole project site....
I came up with a 2 tier solution....and went out looking for props...
Friday night came.....winds looking good for later so I snuck under the outer perimeter fence with my stash bag crammed full...A security gate was about 100yards away but this was the quietest point for entry...
I had to crawl through about 100m of old dusty sandy scrubland to keep myself from popping up in a sillouhette and getting spotted by the guards on the gate......
at the end of this scrubland was another perimeter fence then a site road and then another perimeter fence ( the inner perimeter)
I had to run across that road.....dig a bit to get under the inner perimeter fence.....every time I saw headlights of a car I had to dash back across the road from where I had come and dive back under the perimeter fence there......after a few trips the gap was big enough to slide under with my swollen stashbag.
Inside this fenmce was the site for the bigtowers near the Burj.......it was quiet of workers but security were patrolling and there were random site people appearing from all sorts of dark areas you see on a building site.
I found some cover and initiated the first part of the plan...
First out came the black womens foundation cream.....I painted up my face/chest ears/ hairline /wrists and hands....I wasnt black....but a good shade of brown....just like the Indian workers !
Next the pale blue boiler suit.....blue helmet and gloves.....after all that I looked just like one of the site workers I had studied in various pictures of the project.
Out into the main building site and heading towards the centre , all was quiet......I tried to keep to the edges of the road....without looking too suspicious.....I passed some security guards, but not too closely....after an initial glance they didnt pay me any attention....they were not too close though.
then I see I guy walking towards me ....shit !
He passed me within a couple of meters...lifted his hand and said something.....I just lifted my hand an mumbled back.....and then craned in my peripheral vision to see him continue walking on without looking back.....result !
I ended up in the main building site in front of the ****.....so close now....there was a big recessed central hole....being filled with concrete and an obvious narrow road around it....I started walking this road through the yard...thinking I was in....I moved around a crane and froze.....aboiut 20meters in front was a secuurity guard sat there on the edge of the road in front of a gate....looking the other way.
I'd have to go right up to him and pass through a gate.....and there was alot of light around him.....this one was just too close..with the proximity and light I'm sure he would have rumbled me......I slowly backtracked...wtaching him all the time.....he didnt see me.
Following the road around the other way I saw the same thing.......shit.....these were the only 2 entrances to the **** Base from this road.....
I sat behind a drum took a breather....and figured my next move
Looking down into the recess being filled I saw a small set of boards across the casm.......it was very well lit but much lower than the road....if I could cross it quietly...I'd pass right between the two security gates.....as long as they didnt look down....I'd be cool.
Walking across the boards....took ages.....each step was pressure tested , just in case there was a sqeek or groan from the wood that would give away my position.....I had my teeth gritted and whole body was on edge...I desparately wanted to get across the bit quickly because it was so light.....but couldnt rush it.
Huge wave of relief when I stepped off the other side and climbed up.
There was another climb down and up the side of a small quarry...in between the trucks removing rubble...another security gate dodge ( where I had to walk across the slurry ...human waste slurry.....pipe outlet....that smelt real bad...no wonder nobody wanted to check this place was secure)
Then I was there......at the base of the **** ***** !!!
Passing the site office I could hear jack hammers banging away above and the sound of the hoists going up and down....
Amazingly...the first set of steps I came across went straight into the first level......I had expected a great deal more security and effort to be required to actually get into the building....despite the tricky entry to the site.
I felt well chuffed at this point ......swigged some water and had a little rest.
I started the stair climb in ernest......there are loads of different stair wells in here....and just adjusted which one I was in whenever I heard the sound of workers conversations a bit too close !
At floor ten I checked out the view......my final LZ still had not been clear.
I stopped for a rest and considered my next move.
I had planned to use my workers diguise to get into the building.....but once in ...I knew it was well lit up and didnt feel I would be so lucky to pass through the workers....in bright lights and consistantly get away with with not being rumbled.....and as the building height rose....the floor space got smaller and smaller.....vastly increasing my chances of bumping into workers there.
I had also brought a crisp short sleeve white shirt, black trousers and clip board........the same outfit the 'site management' wear........as I had observed in photos and videos.....
I had noticed they were very authoratative with the mainly indian workforce......my plan was to get rid of the makeup , put on disguise 'b'....stick a 'lift engineer surveyor' storyline on and bark at any worker who questioned me...I figured my disguise...complete with hardhat , gloves and clipboard...being a westerner...would be convincing enough.
As it happens...I was confident enough in avoiding the workmen through the many stairwells......that I didnt get rid of disguise A......I just stripped down a bit to deal with the heat and carried on climbing
Floor 30...stopped to check the weather.....was a bit windy......but still 'ok'
Floor 60........I was running out of water and couldnt find a 'fresh' supply.....all the water was pretty filthy......
I figured I would ration it some more.......but if I ran out......I had no choice.....I would have to drink some of the dirty water from the hydrants and deal with the stomach problems the next day.......or be severly dehydrated.
I thought i had brought enough water.......but you can never bring enough for this heat and this number of stairs !
Floor 99 the first crane level.......that sucker is HUGE !! and has its own external power supply.....never switched off....even at night the heat around it was unbearable.......but the platform gave me some great views over Dubai.......and yet there was still more work to do
After about 120 floors I stopped counting....and went into autopilot...my legs were so tired......but i kept drudging up the stairs.....one step at a time.....14 steps per floor.....step , step , step.....
No variety.....all the levels looked pretty much identical.....still no sign of a fresh water supply..I could have searched each level...but that meant using up more energy resource...I elected to not go 'looking' out of the way for it...but rather ration what I had left.......but the rationing of the water I had....kept me thinking.Another thing I started doing was setting 'mini' goals on the stairs.....ie do the next 3 levels in the next 4mins etc....silly little things to keep you thinking.
The higher I climbed the more frequent my rests became.....but soon the end was tantalisingly close !
Up at 155, the last stair level.....I dumped off my stash bag lay down and rested for half and hour,......I was knackered.
I then got up and continued up the steel work.....to my great surprise....there was absolutely no one there...!
for the last two days I had seen nothing but activity on the top steel levels....and cranes......but this was Friday night.....Thursday and Friday are the 'weekend' over here so technically this was like a UK 'sunday night' !
It was great....up on top....the view was just mesmeric......looking down on 80 floor skyscrapers like they were small houses !......and seeing the coastline of the Gulf as far as the visibility would let me
It was a bit windy......but god damn.....ive never felt so peaceful......so in tune with myself and the world and all that shit.....
I had to drag myself away.....I could have stayed there until the sun came up.
Looking down from each level it was quickly obvious there was no exit point from the steel sections.
There were debris barriers at the bottom of the steel levels.....no way I could clear those in time...no chance
So it was back down to the concrete section....where my kit was and where there was a reasonable exit point.
I knew the wind direction forecasted and had spent the day with my spyglass checking it out......my plan was to fall down the centre 'spine' of the south and west 'wings'
I had noted in my ground observation there was a platform sticking out of that spine ( which the use to stand on whilst they fit the exterior glass) very close to my exit intended exit point ...damn !
Looking down....it was very very confusing to figure out exactly where that central spine was....the building is so big it looks like there were several 'spines' on every side......but its an illusion.....there are huge balaconies at differnt levels on all side sof the burj dubai......get off in the wrong place and dont track and you are going to catch one one of em for sure.....!!
Eventually I was confident with my position for exit.....but didnt like what I saw ...or what I had to do.
In order to go down the 'spine' and have the best chance of out tracking these balconies....I had to exit and fall between this window fitting platform and the scaffold of the external personnel lift.......they were both about 7 floors below me and the gap between them was no more than few metres :O
I started gearing up.....and was abso shitting it I dont mind telling you......I;'d run out of water now so my mouth was as dry as a bone....and the thought of going through that gap....just kept praying on my mind...
What if I went unstable ...what if I flailed...and struck one of the objects....???
I tried several times to get rhino cam working ....but again...like switzerland....it failed...or switched itself off...etc....it was really distracting me......away from more important things.....I made a decision it wasnt important enough....took it off my helmet...pocketed the cam and ditched the mount.......more important things were at hand.
I spent ages just looking out at Dubai.....looking down at the ground below....it was very busy.....there were a couple of landing areas.....I planned a primary and then several outs......its hard to describe to you...but there are skyscrapers with cranes directly in front......cranes around the site.,.....trucks driving around below.....fresh piles sticking out of the ground on new buildings....and pockets of land......and with the wind and jump I was unsure just how far I would be out when opening.....nervous times indeed....all praying on my mind....
I got out on the edge by climbing over the safety netting....it was generous for a poised exit but not a running one..........I got the 'go go's' , went to switch on my other cam...and damn.....it wouldnt record.,......fucking damn !
I kneeled down on the edge......took off my helmet....and looked at the problem.....sand had got wedged into the lense cover....it wouldnt open....I had to fish around in my PF suit pocket for a knife.....pryed open the cover....and bing....it worked.... !
Donned the helmet again.....and spent another 10mins getting my game on again.......I was so nervous...every time I thought I was ready to go....I'd look over that edge....see the obstacles and ledges and get the heeby jeebies again....
A stern talking to myself ensued....
" cmon daz.....you know you'll be fine when you get off.....just do what you know you can do...you've planned this....its good to go.....only one thing more needed....believe in yourself !!"
I shuffled around some more on the edge..and looked up and out over the Dubai coastline to the black sea on the horizon and the numerous stars in the sky around me......the moment came.
Solid push off and it was all gravy.....I tilted forward into my track.....just as I whizzed past and through the gap !
Boys.....what a visual......the dirty yellow grey of the concrete quickly acclerated into a shimmering silver as I whizzed past the illuminated cladded sections.....looking left and right in my peripheral vision, I could see the balconies that stuck out and even better saw them starting to go behind me.....I got a decent track on and it felt great !!!
I could see myself falling relative to the **** and getting closer to the skyscrapers and building sites ahead and below me......what a visual !!
In fact I got a bit tranced......I pulled much lower than I had planned to......not uncomfortably low....but after a great opening I realised very quickly landing zone A was now a 'no chance'LZ
Looking below ....my only real option was a small quarry road , the one, I had crossed originally to get entry to the ****. when on site.....
The turbulance from the **** low down was very noticable.....it took a bit of effort to counter the push the wake eddies were giving me...pushing me up one second them down the next.....
I touched down..for a nice tip toe one....and quickly slid down the side of the quarry side to get off the road....I and pulled my canopy after me .,....but it had a snagged on a rock....I quickly cut away.....but no sooner had I done that than one white helmeted guy peered over the edge ...pointed down and called back to his mates.....I tried saying....its OK mate...calm down.....but soon after I saw another security guy ...then another ...then another.
I started walking towards the other side of the quarry....I was too tired to run it.....looked up and saw another face..this time it was worker.....then another....and another !!
I was soon surrounded......game over.
Only way out was to start fighting......stupid and futile ...so I just tried to be nice and polite.
It was a bit of a riot....the security guys were all jee'd up they had caught me ( not unlike scences you see from Iraq when say they shoot down a helicopter)......they grabbed my canopy and started waving it above their heads.. LOL !
I had 5 guys around me in the quarry.....all saying 'you must come with me' etc etc
I told them all to relax....I'm not going anywhere like this.....and started to undress...ie get out of my tracking suit....take my helmet off...etc
They kept telling me to go with them and tried to grab me.....I just shook them off...saying....dont touch me, let me take these things off first.....they eventually calmed down a little bit and agreed
Eventually I climbed up out of the quarry....and was surrounded by security and workers alike as I was marched back to the site office.....paraded even
Sat down in the office....was approached by several 'tiers' of site security staff....and questioned
With no immediate esacpe plan....my only tactic was to remain polite and courteous....which I did
I attempted to negotiate a financial settlement for not calling the police ( common at this level ) but I was talking to the monkeys....they were far more afraid of their bosses finding out they had let me go.
After an hour a skinny Japanese approached.....he was smiling and clearly of higfher authority than the indian and dubai guys I had seen......he explained that he was waiting for the samsung and emaar senior safety guys to turn up before deciding whether to involve the police....he was polite, courteous and offred me cold water and some tea and we chatted about BASE ....he was fascinated.
The Samsung Safety guy turned up....and immediately told one of the guys in arabic to call the police....I know that because I recognise the word for police and as soon as he said it I watched someone dialing a 3 digit number....like here....they are for the emergency services
Add to that I heard the word BASE being mentioned......I figured he'd already made his mind up...but i played along being courteous.
I answered his questions....let him examine my driving licence.....let him take my picture
Various other Samsung japs poked their head in the door...shouted insulting ( assumed) stuff in japanese then walked off.....the locals often popped their heads in too.....but were always courteous and waved....no insults
This Samsung guy was joined by a French guy from Emaar....the developers.....he was a 30 something French guy who walked in...threw his keys on the table....pointed his finger at my face and said
" you are going to jail you fucking shit "
This obviously was the highlight of his year and he revelled in the authoratative ramblings....at first I remained quite calm....but knowing the police were on the way I didnt buy the whole....we'll decide whether to call the police speech any more...
( especially since inbetween some guy popped his head in the door and said 'they were here' ...got hushed by the first guy and continued his conversation in arabic....where I heard the arabic word for police several times)
This french dude....pointed and swore at me once too often...he wanted my wallet and driving licence....I said no...he said 'give it to me' ...I refused....he shouted and pointed some more..
I satred him in the eyes and told him if he didnt stop pointing his finger at me I was going to knock him the fuck out ! ( and I really meant it....you know me guys....I dont say things I dont mean)
Both other guys in the room stood up and stepped back....and attempted to verbally placate me....they clearly didnt want to get too close.
he stopped pointing , mumbled , backed off and left.
I continued talking to the other two in a respectful manner.....I asked them if they had called the police.....and they admitted they had....and that they were waiting outside....they just wanted to interogate me themselves before handing me over.
within 2 minutes....the door opened and the police were there.....they had been there all the time.
They took my camera and reviewed the footage.....the Japanese guy wanted to tape over the footage and the security official wanted to tape over how they had behaved after i had landed....the police let them tape over the final parts of the fooatge...but got bored and wouldnt let the japanese guy rewind back and tape over the footage.
I was taken to Bur Dubai Police station......and what a nice bunch they were.....really nice guys....I got tea.....and everyone came to say hello and 'Can I have a look at pictures please sir !"
( I even talked one of them into going for his first tandem skydive)
I was there a couple of hours ...questioned( again)......they took my passport and told me to go back to my hotel.....and they will advise me of the court date.
Long story short.......I'm looking at 6 months inside over here.....thats the standard sentance for trespass, thats already been given out top the last French dude who tried and failed to get into the Burj to jump it.
Theres so much thats gotta be sorted out and I'm in the process of doing that now with Sarah...as I'm gearing up for the 6 month stretch.
The Police said they thought that 6 months in would be the most likley outcome.
Such a pity....it was all perfect....right up until after I landed....but hey ....shit happens....you cant avoid it forever...and Ive had a nice long run of luck in this game.
and better this than going in ! I thankful I'm still in one piece.
So Matt...sorry mate but I wont be able to make LB or Norway.....
I guess I'll see you guys in 6 months or so.....a bit skinnier and with my fist ever tan !
Please keep this info strictly to yourselves for now......I'm sure the rumour mill will spout out something juicy...but as Ive written above is just how it happened.....just so you know.
Ive done a vid....when/if I can get it uploaded....I'll share it with you guys if you promise to keep it to yourselves....
Jail is shit, but I'd be naive to say it wasnt something I'd considered on my risk assesment for this venture....
......but the jump was fucking amazing boys......just fucking amazing !
Scariest jump I ever did....right up until I left the edge....and then it was like your best dream...in slow motion...