Parachutist Killed In Eiffel Jump

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AP
A Norwegian man was killed after jumping from the Eiffel Tower when a parachute he was wearing got stuck on an upper deck of the monument, officials said Tuesday.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the man planned to film his jump as part of publicity for a Norwegian clothing brand, police said.

The man, 31, entered the tower with a hidden parachute and a helmet that had a small video camera attached to it, said the official at Paris' police headquarters, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

Upon reaching the tower's 380-foot second deck, the man jumped. Investigators believe his parachute got caught in the tower's structure, detaching it from his body.

He continued his fall without the parachute, crashing onto the 182-foot-high first deck of the famous Paris landmark, according to police and an official for SNTE, the company that manages the Eiffel Tower.

Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne Lene Sandsten said the man was Norwegian.

Hundreds have died at the tower, which is 1,063 feet tall with its flagpole, since it opened as a star attraction of the Paris World Fair of 1889.

Most of the deaths were suicides. The first was reportedly a printer's mechanic who hanged himself from the tower's north pillar in 1891, bequeathing his clothes to builder Gustave Eiffel in his will.

The tower also has long attracted daredevils. A British couple successfully parachuted from the top deck in 1984. A New Zealander bungee-jumped off the second floor in 1987.

Franz Reichel, a mustachioed Austrian tailor, was killed leaping from the first deck in 1912 to test a tent-like parachute coat he had invented. He is said to have died of fright before hitting the ground.