Mother of Highgate base jumper Jake Simkins killed on Greek island slams rescue effort
The mother of a former Highgate School pupil who plunged 180ft to his death after a parachuting accident on holiday in Zante has branded the Greek emergency services “inadequate”.
Jake Simkins, 42, was left dangling from a rock for three hours on the island of Zante in the Ionian Sea when a gust of wind caused his parachute to become tangled on the cliff face.
He calmly called his pregnant wife to reassure her he was okay as he hung perilously over the cliff edge.
But the emergency services failed to rescue him in time, and the father-to-be fell to his death.
His mother Julia, 77, who lives in Back Lane, Hampstead, told the Ham&High: “He was up there for three hours. They should have got a helicopter down from Athens to winch him off the cliff, but they didn’t. The organisation just wasn’t there.
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“All sorts of people turned up but no one seemed to have enough rope to get him down. I’m not angry, I’m just sad that they had that time to save him and didn’t.
“I don’t think the Greek authorities will investigate this. I don’t think answers are any help to me.”
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She added: “We are all just in a state of shock. We will miss him terribly. He was on the dawn of a new life, it is just very sad to think the baby will grow up without a father.”
Mr Simkins grew up with his two siblings in Highgate West Hill and attended the prestigious Highgate Independent School.
The London Underground signalling officer had been looking forward to starting a family with his fianc�, who was six months pregnant with the couple’s first child – a girl.
The pair had just sold their Wood Green home and were planning to move to west London as they set off on their summer holiday.
An experienced sky diver, two years ago he took up base jumping - an extreme sport in which parachutists jump from buildings, cliffs or bridges - two years ago.
Warning of the perils of the notoriously dangerous sport, Mrs Simkins urged other young men to think before taking it up.
She said: “If his death causes one young man to think again about base jumping then maybe his death will not have been in vain.
“We knew of Jake’s base jumping and that he loved to do it. Whether he would have given it up after the baby was born, we don’t know.
“I did worry, of course. People must understand what base jumping is – a very, very dangerous sport.”
The Foreign Office is assisting Mr Simkins’ family.