Austrian space diver no stranger to danger
US: “Fearless Felix” Baumgartner, the Austrian daredevil who
stunned fans around the world Sunday by breaking the sound barrier in a
hair-raising dive from the fringe of space, was “born to fly.”
That’s according to a tattoo the 43-year-old sports, a motto that
took on a whole new meaning after his nail-biting feat, the fastest
freefall ever by leaping from a capsule more than 24 miles (39
kilometers) above the Earth and reaching a top speed of 833.9 miles
(1,342 kilometers) per hour.
The dramatic jump -- which could have ended in disaster by causing
his blood to boil -- propelled the extreme adventure-seeker into the
record books. It also made a childhood dream come true.
“I always had the desire to be in the air,” Austria’s Kurier
newspaper quoted Baumgartner as saying. “I climbed trees, I wanted to
see the world from above.” He certainly did that Sunday -- and then
some. Baumgartner, who was born in Salzburg, Austria, on April 20, 1969,
has come a long way from his younger years working as a car mechanic and
repairing motorcycles as he searched for ways to soar from the sky.