Miami BASE-jumpers leap for Leap Year

Jumpers perform daring feats in downtown Miami

MIAMI - Talk about a leap of faith. Two BASE-jumpers celebrated Leap Day by jumping 460 feet from the top of the Conrad Miami Hotel. 

The men are members of the elite aerial sports team known as the Red Bull Air Force.  For jumper Miles Dasher, this was his 3,049th BASE jump and his first one in Miami. He said he never gets used to the thrill of the jump. 

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"Those aren't butterflies. Those are bats in there, man," Dasher said as he pointed to his stomach. "It's like all night long, I couldn't sleep. It was like Christmas for me. This is our holiday for BASE-jumpers." 

This base jump stunt on Leap Day was a promotion for the Red Bull energy drink.  

"Oh, yeah, yeah, OK -- one every four years, so that's a good day probably to take a chance," said one spectator.

A crowd of dozens stood for nearly three hours along Brickell Avenue, looking skyward as they waited for the wind to cooperate for the two high-rise leapers. 

"I don't know. I'm not that kind of adrenaline junkie. I don't know if I would take that kind of chance," said another onlooker. 

The clouds cleared and the winds calmed at about 2 p.m., and the nervous crowd watched as the jumpers took the plunge and glided to graceful landing on Southeast 14th Street. 

"Thank you, Miami. Happy Leap Day," Dasher said. 

The Red Bull Air Force also did BASE jumps Wednesday in Detroit, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It's the first time they've done four BASE jumps on the same day in different cities.

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