French daredevil dies in hot-air balloon accident

Tancrede Melet was attached to the hot-air balloon when it took off unexpectedly

France, daredevil, Tancrede Melet, dead, BASE jumper, tightrope walker, Diois

Image: Facebook/Tancrède Melet

A French BASE jumper and tightrope walker has died in an accident while preparing to perform a balloon stunt.

Tancrede Melet, 32, was attached to the hot-air balloon with teammates from the extreme sports group Flying Frenchies when it took off unexpectedly.

His teammates released themselves and jumped clear but Melet remained suspended until he was around 100ft in the air when he fell to the ground in Diois, France.

It is thought he was preparing to walk on a 'slackline' between two balloons, a stunt he has performed before.

Writing on Facebook, his friend and filmmaker Seb Montaz-Rosset paid tribute to the man he described as a "gifted visionary" who had become meticulous about safety since becoming a father.

"Such a talented and visionary bird is a rare breed. I haven't met many like him. Don’t be too quick to judge; he was twice as careful since becoming a father to Leonie".

"He didn’t fall while attempting a complicated stunt - the clown slipped on a banana skin, one of those devious things you can't see coming, clipping the wings of our most brilliant bird".

"Tanc, we won't forget you - you showed us how to make our dreams come true".

Melet's extraordinary feats thrilled thousands who watched his stunts, many of which were filmed by Montaz-Rosset.

His speciality was combining BASE jumping with slacklining - walking barefoot across a thin piece of tensioned webbing suspended 3,000ft above a gorge or between two balloons - before jumping off and deploying a parachute.

He featured in advertisements and participated in lectures and video festivals with his Flying Frenchies teammates.

His profile on the group's website states Melet resigned from his job as an engineer to follow his "quest of freedom" and that his motto was to "try everything, at least once".

Speaking before his death, he said: "This feeling of freedom is something you can't describe. It's such a strong feeling, falling for 15 seconds or so before the parachute opens, you shout out and let it all go".