On first viewing, there can be few activities which apparently show the complete antithesis of safety consciousness, more than Base jumping.

But the sad death of renowned Base jumper and wingsuit flyer, Dean Potter, raises some difficult questions about whether rules intended to prevent a fatality, have actually contributed towards it.

Base jumping is illegal in US national parks, but it doesn’t appear to have stopped some people’s lust for excitement, pushing some to take more risks at less ideal times. And no matter what your opinion on those risks, the thrill-seekers and flight pioneers are not looking to harm themselves.

As Caty Enders points out in the Guardian, the National Park search and rescue is called out more times to rescue pets than Base jumpers, and Potter himself said he was studying aerodynamics and aerospace technology and was committed to developing safer gear and flying protocols.

As with any activity, understanding the risks is an important part of the safety process, and sticking to the safety guidelines, whether self-imposed or not, may make all the difference.