Sometimes, it seems like the most incredible people die in the most heartbreaking of ways. Yesterday, Frenchman Tancrède Melet, 32, an experienced wingsuit pilot, basejumper and inspiration to the working man, died as he was setting up a stunt using hot air balloons.
According to reports translated from Italian and French news outlets, Melet was with four members of his crew known as the “Flying Frenchies” in the small village of Diois in southeast France. All were anchored in a balloon that was on the ground when the balloon lifted off. Other than Melet, the rest of the crew was able to release their anchors. But Melet was stuck and then suspended some 30 meters in the air. The accident is being investigated but apparently his anchor released and he fell to the ground, dying of trauma.
Melet lived an incredible life, basejumping off the Italian side of Mount Blanc, and as a “tightrope walker” or slackliner, he would walk between hot air balloons thousands of feet off the ground or between cable cars suspended in mid air. He was also a gifted climber, kayaker, kiter and general lover of the outdoors. His crew were pioneers in the high-lining realm where athletes traverse slacklines between fixed points, often with little to no safety.
As written on the Flying Frenchies website, Melet worked as an engineer for four years but grew tired of the 9-5 grind. He left to pursue his love of flight and acrobatics. His passion quickly became a full-time endeavor.
Melet leaves behind his partner, Tiphaine Breillot, and a young child.