World Trade Center BASE jumpers defend stunt as video is released

WTC jumper defends stunt as video is released... 03:52

Three daredevils were criminally charged Tuesday, after base jumping off the new World Trade Center tower in Manhattan. BASE jumpers fall from fixed surfaces - like buildings - and use parachutes to break their fall.

The three jumpers - Andrew Rossig, Macro Markovich and James Brady - leaped from the 1,776-foot- tall skyscraper in the early morning hours of Sept. 30, 2013, but police were only now able to track the trio down. They're charged with burglary, reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure.

Their firsthand video account could be the key evidence. A fourth man was also arrested, accused of being their lookout.

The jumpers claim they evaded one security guard and made their way to the top of the tower where they remained for at least four hours.

"It was pretty simple actually - scarily enough. We found a little hole in the fence between the wall and the fence and we just pushed it open, walked right in, saw a worker walk by, got right into the building," said Markovich . "We didn't see one person the entire way up, from the ground all of the way to the roof."

The men went largely unnoticed. But, a few bystanders and surveillance footage from another building that captured the moments after they landed set off the long investigation.

The rest of the evidence remained with the men, from their helmet cams. The clips - uncovered in a police search in February - were the final piece of the puzzle that linked them to the stunt.

Their arrest comes less than a week after a New Jersey teenager crawled through a hole in a fence and managed to climb to the top of the tower, just as they did six months earlier.

Rossig argues their jump may help officials address serious flaws in building security.

"They could look at it from the positive and say 'Hey, they were New Yorkers, they got in, they showed us the hole in security and we need to upgrade things,'" he said.

But, in a statement New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton isn't welcoming the advice saying, "These men violated the law and placed themselves, as well as others, in danger," adding that "being a thrill-seeker does not give immunity from the law."

But the men, who have 30 years of BASE-jumping experience among them, insist no one was in any danger.

"At the time that we did it, in the middle of the night, with the proper weather conditions, it was a calculated risk," said Rossig.

While Bratton hopes these arrests will send a strong message to copycats, the native New Yorkers have few regrets.

The men insist this was not a publicity stunt, and they only released the footage to get ahead of the story. They plan on donating any money earned on the footage to a charity for the families of the 9/11 victims. They will be back in court in July.

To see Michelle Miller's full report, watch the video in the player above