A Bay Area BASE jumper decided to celebrate his 41st birthday by jumping from one of the 2,000 ft. TV transmission towers located at Walnut Grove just south of Sacramento Thursday.   John Agnos of Hayward climbed the Channel 13 tower, one of 4 at the location, and jumped from around the 1500 ft level.  His parachute became entangled in one to the tower's guy wires around 200 feet above the ground and he used his cell phone to call for help. Agnos suffered no major injuries in the incident.   

Agnos hovered above the ground suspended in his parachute harness for close to five hours before a firefighter was able to get him down by shimmering  to his location on the same guy wire Agnos was hanging from.  Ropes and harnesses were used to lower him to the ground using the same guy wire.

Apparently this isn't the first time Agnos has jumped from this tower and trespassing charges and a bill for rescue services likely await him.

This is not the first time Agnos has had to be rescued.  Just 10 days ago he needed emergency help when he fell while climbing to make a parachute jump near Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Before that, a jump off of a Las Vegas casino resulted in a crushed foot. Previous mishaps have left him with titanium rods in his back and legs. 

Agnos was treated at a Sacramento hospital and released the next day.  Being able to call for help from his cell phone probably saved his life as nightfall descended on the area.   

BASE Jumper's Life Saved By Cell Phone

October 27, 2005
< KXTV/KOVR TV tower is a guyed communication tower in Walnut Grove, California (just South of Sacramento)  that rises to 2,049 feet (624.5 m) in height.  When built in 2000, it was the tallest structure in California, the 4th tallest guyed mast in the world (as of 2001), and the 6th tallest structure to ever have existed.  

It also is taller than the CN tower, the tallest free-standing structure on land. Antennas on the tower carry the signals for KXTV channel 10, KOVR channel 13 and others.

Actual 911 Cell phone call placed by Agnos.
Note:  All 911 calls in California are first routed to the area CHP (California Highway Patrol) office who then route them to the agency of jurisdiction, in this case the fire department.  This explains the difficulty the CHP dispatcher was having understanding Agnos's plight in the first few minutes of his call.
"First, I would like to apologize to whom it may concern for bringing any attention to the day I jumped the guy wire tower. It was meant to be a very private day for me. Unfortunately due to poor judgment that day I had an accident. I have 90 base jumps which I've done in two years, 2 of which I displayed poor judgment and almost died. Base jumping has been the greatest experiences of my life, ever making me humble beyond what I ever thought I could be.

I would like to address my 911 call. It was definitely a horrifying experience. After I hit the guy wire, my canopy slid a long distance down it snapping more than half my lines as I went. I did what I had to do to prepare to die. I was hanging from less then half of my lines. I thought that was the end for me and it was a sad moment in my life. I've learned from my mistakes. And I hope that any and all of you will never have anybody smearing you or laughing at you if you have a near death  experience. I would never be at that level; I would comfort any fellow human being in their moment of despair. It was an accident and I screwed up on the jump.

Some of you have wondered about my background. I am not new to Parachutes. I've been skydiving 13 years, I've made 1,500 skydives with no injuries. I competed at the 2000 nationals on the Perris 16 way team which we placed 3 rd. I've been on multiple Nevada records and California records. On Sept 10, 2001, I put on fund raiser skydiving for the kids and raised $27,000 for children's hospital in Oakland, we made 60 jumps apiece in 9 hours.

To everybody, I apologize for screwing up on the jump, causing negative news, and for making comments to the news that were not thought out well. I have learned a lot from this. I know I have a lot to learn still.  BASE #1039"
Response from John Agnos
As posted on the blincmagazine.com forum

John Agnos
John Clark
Sacramento City Fire Dept.
Base Jumper John Agnos
Agnos's parachute
BASE Jumping

BASE jumping is the sport of using a parachute to jump from fixed objects. "BASE" is an acronym that stands for the four categories of objects from which one can jump; (B)uilding, (A)ntenna (such as radio or television), (S)pan (a bridge, arch or dome), and (E)arth (a cliff or other natural formation).

BASE jumping is much more dangerous than skydiving from aircraft and is currently regarded as a fringe extreme sport.

There are isolated examples of BASE jumps dating from the early 1900s. Frederick Law jumped from the Statue of Liberty in 1912; Michael Pelkey and Brian Schubert jumped the cliff "El Capitan" in Yosemite Valley in 1966; and in 1976, Rick Sylvester jumped Canada's Mt. Asgard for the opening sequence of the James Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me", giving the wider world its first look at BASE jumping.  

Ancient "Chinese Finger" type system to rescue Agnos

Fire crews from the Sacramento, Elk Grove and Walnut Grove fire departments who responded to the scene quickly assessed various strategies to save Agnos.  A rescue helicopter was considered but it was determined it would not be able to maneuver close enough to the tower in the dark without endangering the pilot's safety.

John Clark, a rescue specialist with the Sacramento Fire Department.  volunteered to climb the same guy wire Agnos was hanging on to rescue him.  A fire department aerial truck ladder was extended next to the guy wire which allowed Clark to start climbing at approximately 100 feet up.
It took Clark, an extremely fit six year veteran firefighter, a little over an hour to reach Agnos using a rope anchorage system.   Clark described the anchorage system  as much like a Chinese finger puzzle, the harder you pull the tighter it gets in separate directions. Clark had two of them connected to his harness, when he pushed them they would loosen up and when he pulled on them they would tighten around the guy wire.  Movement up the guy wire was in small increments, (arms length)  Clark explained.

While Clark was climbing up Agnos was shouting that he was in a severe pain and that his parachute was slipping.  Once Clark reached Agnos, he secured him in a separate  harness attached to the guy wire, cut his parachute free and lowered him to the ground.  He was taken by ambulance to a Sacramento hospital where he spent the night for observation.  He was released the next day.

Other Stories and Features

1.BLINC BASE Forum posting of the incident including Agnos' response.

2. High angle rescue saves California man's life after illegal jump from 2,000 tower.

3. Agnos injured in Colorado October 2005 jump.

4. Main story