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The Cliffs of Moher

Misadventure verdict in Cliffs base jump death

A Dublin man watched on in horror as his base-jumping partner bounced off the Cliffs of Moher and plunged to his death
last April.

In a deposition at the inquest into the death of Malcolm Rowley, 45, Greg McEntee said that Mr Rowley’s parachute opened facing towards, rather than away from, the Cliffs.

Mr Rowley’s parachute opened the wrong way nafter he ran and jumped off the Cliffs and free-fell for a few seconds
at around 7.10am on Saturday, April 22 last.

Mr McEntee said, “He hit the cliffs and hit it a few times, bouncing off the cliff all the way to the bottom”.

At a recent inquest in Ennis, Clare coroner, Isobel O’Dea recorded a verdict of misadventure after hearing that Mr Rowley
of Bantry, Cork died as a result of multiple injuries sustained in the 600ft fall.

Moments before Mr Rowley’s fatal jump, Mr McEntee successfully performed the base jump. In his deposition, he said he took a run and jump off the cliff-top and free-fell for three seconds, before opening his parachute and guiding it in for landing.

Mr McEntee from Artane in Dublin said that after putting away his parachute following landing safely at the bottom of
Aille na Serrach, it was his intention to video Mr Rowley’s jump.

He said, “I recorded it on my Go Pro”.

He said he didn’t know how much of Mr Rowley’s jump he recorded, as the camera was on his helmet. Mr McEntee said that he saw Mr Rowley jump and his body position looked ok in freefall.

He said, “Malcolm opened his parachute on time but when it opened, it didn’t open facing away from the Cliffs”.

A third man and work colleague of Mr McEntee at Tullamore Dew in County Offaly, Scott Baird, travelled to the Cliffs on
the day to see the base-jumping.

The Scottish man said the three of them posed for photographs at the top of the Cliffs before the base jumps.

Mr Baird said that Mr McEntee and Mr Rowley looked at a video of a friend of Mr McEntee’s base jumping at the location on Mr McEntee’s phone, before deciding at what spot to jump from.

Mr McEntee said his own jump was a mirror image of the one completed by his friend.

Giving his opinion as to why Mr Rowley’s parachute didn’t open the right way, Mr McEntee said, “There are different reasons that would cause the parachute to open the way it did. Even if you do everything right, there is a chance you would get one in a 100 that you get one facing onto the cliff.”

He said, “We are trained to deal with situations like this if they arise but it is hard to say what happened to Malcolm – if he had enough time to manoeuvre away. It just appeared that he had no time to deal with the problem.”

Mr McEntee said Mr Rowley “was a fairly well experienced para-glider and had a reasonable amount of sky-diving and
base-jumping experience. You wouldn’t call him a beginner.”

Mr McEntee said he has been sky-diving for 10 years and base jumping for five years and met Mr Rowley on Facebook through mutual friends a month before the trip to the Cliffs of Moher.

He said that he was looking for someone to jump off the Cliffs, as it is the kind of thing you do not do on your own.

He said, “I made contact with Malcolm on April 21 on doing a possible base jump at the Cliffs of Moher, as the weather was looking good”.

After Mr Rowley’s fall, Mr McEntee said he made a 999 call at 7.14am and the emergency services arrived 55 minutes
later.

Mr McEntee made efforts to revive Mr Rowley at the scene and these continued with the emergency services but he was
pronounced dead at the scene at 10am.

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