James Brady, a skilled iron worker, may become a cult hero after his daredevil feat of BASE jumping from the top of 1 World Trade Center (WTC), the skyscraper he helped to build.
Brady (32), along with Andrew Rossig (33), Marco Markovich (27), and the lookout, Kyle Hartwell (29), jumped from the building attached to parachutes on September 30 . The former WTC iron worker wore a camera on his helmet providing the world with the amazing video (below) of his descent from 1,776 feet. He lands on West Street before running for cover and bustling up his chute.
Their jump, which was reported by a security guard in the Goldman Sachs building closeby, sparked fears of a terrorist attack. Police had been investigating since.
On Monday (March 24th) the four men surrendered to the authorities. They have been charged with burglary, reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure. They were released on $3,500 bail.
Irish American Brady, from Kings Park, Long Island, comes from a long line of ironworkers. He has worked for DCM Erectors, but completed his work after Thanksgiving 2013. He is a member of the ironworkers Local 40 union.
Brady was among the ironworkers who put the beam, signed by President Obama and the First Lady, on the 104th floor (see photo below). Known for this climbing ability, Brady was among the team of ironworkers who completed the spire atop the WTC, now the tallest building in New York City.
Days after their jump Brady had helped TIME magazine to take a 360-degree image from the building's spire. They took a stunning photos of the imposing ironworker and spoke to him about his work.
Clearly in awe of the structure he had help to build, he told TIME “Whenever I see it, I’m like, ‘F—in’ A, man, the thing’s f—in’ huge!’...And we were up there.”
What is amazing about their act is that they did not do it for public notoriety, in this world of social media and YouTube, they simply did it for the sport, albeit reckless.
Rossig said, “We were not ever looking to go public with this.” And added, “We knew what we were getting into when we did it.”
Timothy Parlatore, Rossig’s attorney, told the New York Daily News, the skydivers have pledged to donate any proceeds from the video to the family of 9/11 victims.
Parlatore said, “This was never intended to be a publicity stunt.” He added “However, since the police department has turned it into something of a spectacle, the defendants are hoping the video can be used for some good.”
Their video posted by the NYC Freedom Tower B.A.S.E. Jump, on their YouTube channel, has already racked up almost 3 million views.
Their actions are already being compared to those of Philippe Petit, who was made famous recently through the award-winning documentary “Man on Wire.” In 1974, Petit and his cohorts broke into the site and he walked a high-wire between the Twin Towers.
Speaking in court on Monday, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Neil Ross referred to the September BASE jumpers' actions as “utter recklessness” conducted in an “organized fashion.”
In fact the four men were so organized that, according to Rossig, they “just kind of walked in” gaining access to the almost completed WTC building.
Speaking to the press on Monday Rossig blasted the New York Port Authority’s security operation. He explained that at 3am they simply slipped through a hole in a fence, which was covered with nothing but a tarp.
He said, “God forbid it wasn’t somebody else getting in there with real intentions to harm New Yorkers.”
Brady and Rossig were described as experienced BASE jumpers. They have traveled the world pursuing their hobby.
Rossig said, “The Freedom Tower being the biggest building in the western hemisphere, it’s just a fair amount of free fall time and you really get to enjoy the view of the city and see it from a different perspective.”
Investigators found the jumpers by tracking a car they spotted on a video near 1 WTC. It belonged to one of their relatives, according to a NY Daily News source. In January police searched their homes and uncovered footage from the helmet cams. The four men presented themselves to the police on Monday, accompanied by their defense lawyer.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, “These arrests should send a message to anyone thinking about misusing a landmark this way.
“They will be tracked down and they will face serious charges. Being a thrill-seeker does not give immunity from the law.”
What this tale does call into light is the security of the WTC site. On March 16 a 16-year-old, Justin Casquej, broke into the WTC site at 4am. He climbed through a hole in the fence and allegedly sneaked past a sleeping security guard. He gained access to the roof and spent two hours taking photos. At 6am when he descended he was finally spotted by construction workers arriving on site.
Here’s the video on NYC Freedom Tower B.A.S.E. Jump’s YouTube channel: