6 Oct 2008

Another New Zealander makes Everest history

12:48 pm on 6 October 2008

Three skydivers, including a New Zealander, have made the first parachute jump over Mount Everest after years of preparation.

About 32 skydivers from more than 10 countries have been in the region since last week to jump from an aircraft flying 142 metres higher than the summit of Mt Everest.

On Sunday, New Zealander Wendy Smith and two others made the leap.

All three were in freefall for nearly half a minute and then opened their canopies before landing at a flat drop zone after cruising over the mountain.

They used parachutes that were larger than normal size and all three wore oxygen masks.

"It was stunning. I had never seen so many mountains before," Ms Smith said. "To be on top of the world was simply stunning."

New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa first climbed Mount Everest's 8,850-metre peak 55 years ago.

More than 3,000 climbers, among them a 16-year-old boy, a 76-year-old man, a man with an artificial limb and a blind person, have since reached the top of the mountain.