Climber, BASE jumper, and circus performer Lucky Chance, formerly known as Toby Benham, died Tuesday in Australia's Blue Mountains. The 32-year-old daredevil was performing a trick known as the "death swing" at Hanging Rock (watch a successful 2011 attempt below). The 98-foot rope Chance was swinging from smashed into Hanging Rock's jagged cliffs, causing Chance to suffer extensive head and chest injuries. Rescue aid and an ambulance arrived at the scene at 1 p.m. and rushed Chance to the hospital, but he could not be revived and was pronounced dead at 3:25 p.m.
This wasn't Lucky's first encounter with the dangers of mountain and aerial sports such as BASE jumping, which claims 5 percent of its participants' lives. After coming onto the climbing scene a decade ago and accomplishing difficult U.K. solo climbs such as the Zone (E9), Stampede (E8), and Drummond Base (E8), Chance had his first brush with death during a BASE jump in the French Alps four years ago. A fall left him with a shattered pelvis and jaw, fractured femur and foot, collapsed lungs, and a serious brain injury. After being in a coma for two weeks, Chance awoke and eventually returned to BASE jumping and his stuntwork for Eroni's Circus in Australia. He had planned on moving to France and living with his girlfriend, a nurse who cared for him following his 2011 accident, at the end of this year.
"He was an absolute free spirit," said Erini's co-owner, Cathy Maynard, in a report from the Daily Telegraph. "He absolutely loved going out exploring and made the most of every single day he had. He's probably the only person I've ever seen who truly lived every day like it was his last."
Unfortunately, Chance's death doesn't stand alone. American BASE jumping legend Dean Potter, who died in May, has become the face of the deadly realties of adventure sports. This summer also saw the deaths of a record-holding French wingsuit pilot and a veteran Canadian BASE jumper.
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