Bulgarian Claims Baumgartner 'Stole His Jump'
A 67-year-old Bulgarian man living in Vienna has stated that Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner "stole his project" for a record-shattering jump from the stratosphere.
On Sunday, Baumgartner the record for the highest ever skydive by jumping out of a balloon 128,000ft (24 miles, 39km) above New Mexico. He became the first man to break the sound barrier in a free-fall jump.
However, Bulgarian Ivan Trifonov has told the Austrian Kurier that the awe-inspiring jump was initially his project.
"I am happy for Baumgartner's success. But this was my project," Trifonov has stated, adding that he contacted Red Bull on three occasions but failed to receive financial support from the company.
The Bulgarian intended to jump from 50 km and break the sound barrier. He met with Baumgartner in Salzburg back in 2005, sharing all details of his project with the Austrian. Baumgartner allegedly told him he would call him back, but never did.
Trifonov hoped that the skydiver would list him as a consultant of the project.
Red Bull has pointed out that the stratosphere jump idea has been around for more than 50 years. The company says that numerous projects have been considered, including Trifonov's. However, the Bulgarian's concept was deemed unconvincing.
Ivan Trifonov took part in the first ever balloon flight over the South Pole.