Michael Regan, Getty Images
Mark Sutton, who parachuted dressed as James Bond as part of the London 2012 opening ceremony, has died in an wing-diving accident.
by Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
The British daredevil who parachuted into the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony as James Bond has been killed in an accident in the Swiss Alps, police said.
Former army officer Mark Sutton, 42, was killed while jumping from a helicopter in a winged suit as part of an event near Martigny, in the Lower Valais canton.
Swiss police are still investigating, but the stuntman is thought to have died after crashing into a rock on a mountain ridge. Police said he jumped from a helicopter at 10,800 feet.
A statement from Epic TV, the online extreme sports broadcaster that organized the event, said that Sutton's death was "a tragic loss for the global wingsuit community." The accident reportedly took place on the first day of the three-day event. The gathering involved 20 wingsuit pilots who were being filmed as they jumped from helicopters.
Epic TV Editor in Chief Trey Cook said Sutton jumped with another diver who was wearing a camera, though the moment of impact had not been captured on film.
Wingsuits - aerodynamic jumpsuits that make wearers look like winged superheroes - allow flyers to jump from planes or helicopters and soar long distances before opening parachutes to land.
Sutton was an accomplished skydiver who had a starring role in one of the most memorable parts of the 2012 Summer Games opening ceremony.
It began with a filmed sequence in which Daniel Craig's James Bond escorted Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace and into a helicopter. Stunt doubles of Bond and the queen then performed a live parachute jump into the Olympic Stadium. Sutton was the tuxedo-clad Bond, while his friend Gary Connery wore a pink dress and wig to play the queen.
Connery told The Sun newspaper that he had lost a close friend who was "smart, articulate and funny."
"In any sport where you share a common bond you can make friends in a heartbeat that last a lifetime," he was quoted as saying. "My relationship with Mark was like that."
Contributing: Associated Press
Copyright 2013USA TODAY