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Extreme sport Search suspended for US speed-flyer missing in Alps

An unnamed speed-flyer takes off in the Haslital Valley, canton Bern

An unnamed speed-flyer takes off in the Haslital Valley, canton Bern

(Keystone)

Authorities in Switzerland have suspended their search for an American extreme sports enthusiast missing in the Alps since Saturday. 

Harrison Fastexternal link, 28, from Boulder, Colorado, was speed-flying in the Jungfrau region in the Bernese Alps when the six-person group he was with lost sight of him and alerted the authorities. 

Christoph Gnägi, a spokesman for Bern cantonal police, said on Tuesday that extensive air and surface searchers were undertaken for three days.

He added that the search had been hampered by bad weather and dangerous terrain. The area in question has many deep crevasses. 

Fast's family started a Facebook campaign to raise money for the search

(Vimeo: Harrison Fast)

“The active search has now been suspended,” Gnägi said. “We did everything we possibly could.” 

According to US media reports, Fast’s family is raising moneyexternal link for a private search involving helicopters. 

Speed-flyers launch themselves from slopes, using special parachutes designed to let them fly fast and close to the ground. It is a combination of paragliding and skiing. 

Since 2008, following several serious accidents in Switzerland, people wishing to practise the sport have had to complete special training and hold a certificate from the Swiss Free-Flying Association, as well as a paragliding licence. 

However, this has not prevented several deaths. On March 11, a 30-year-old British speed-flyer died speed-flying in Wengen, canton Bern.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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