Parachutists to gather in West Virginia for 40th Bridge Day

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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Thrillseekers from around the world are heading to southern West Virginia for an annual bridge-jumping event.

Saturday's Bridge Day festival in Fayetteville is being held for the 40th year. It is the one day a year it's legal to jump off the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge.

Hundreds of BASE jumpers make the leap by parachute off the bridge. BASE stands for the places from which jumpers usually leap: buildings, antennae, spans and earth.

At least 70,000 people are expected to walk across the bridge. Rappellers also will make their way from a cat walk under the bridge to the river below. Also available to anyone for $161 will be a 700-foot-long high line slide that drops
300 vertical feet.

The 3,030-foot-long bridge opened to traffic in October 1977.