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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.

AFP

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