Q&A: Skydiving Photographer on Risks, Rush

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Tom Foreman: Your wife Jan was out there…a lot of people were out there…and it was sort of a media event to jump off of [El Capitan] illegally; to get arrested and try to push the law and say, "Let's change this."

Tom Sanders: Right. She was using borrowed gear, because the Park Service policy is to confiscate your base jumping equipment, so she didn't want her favorite gear to be confiscated.

Tom Foreman: You were filming this?

Tom Sanders: I was in the meadow filming.

Tom Foreman: And tell me what was going through your mind?

Tom Sanders: It was just a horrible sight. I mean, it is terrible to watch your wife die. But, you know, at this point I can look back on it and at least I can say that she died standing up for something she believed in. She was there to make a statement that base jumpers are treated unfairly by the National Park Service.

I think we should be able to live our life the way we want to, and if we die doing something we love, then that's fine: We die the way we loved living our life. How many people drown in the rivers there? Are you going to close the park?

Tom Foreman: A lot of normal people would look at this and they would say there's something wrong with you. Do you ever say to yourself, "I'm just tempting fate every day?"

Tom Sanders: No, I'm just really enjoying life every day, and I really believe that, and it's not any different than guys that are going out and surfing 50-foot waves or climbing Mt. Everest. I don't think any of us do it because we're trying to cheat death. It's like I wake up every morning and I go, "How am I going to enjoy the most out of this life?"

Recent Inside Base Camp interviews:
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Aliens "Absolutely" Exist, SETI Astronomer Seth Shostak Believes
For Reporter Laura Blumenfeld, Revenge Is Family Affair in Middle East
Actor Danny Glover on Africa Activism

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