Mark Sutton, the 41-year-old stuntman who parachuted into the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics as James Bond, died on Wednesday. Sutton crashed into a mountain ridge near the Swiss-French border after wing-diving from a helicopter.
Lars Baron / Getty Images, file
Mark Sutton parachutes into the Olympic Stadium dressed as James Bond, following a performer in the role of Queen Elizabeth II, as part of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
LONDON -- A stuntman who wowed crowds with his portrayal of James Bond during the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony has been killed in a wing-diving accident.
Mark Sutton, 42, crashed into a mountain ridge in the Swiss Alps, near Martigny, which is close to the French border.
Swiss police said that one of two wing-divers who jumped out of a helicopter at a height of more than 10,000 feet hit the ridge on Wednesday morning.
"He was part of a group of about 20 other comrades in Chamonix which are regarded to be among the best in the world," police said in a statement.
Formal identification will take place using a DNA test, officials added.
The mastermind of last year's Olympic opening ceremony, Danny Boyle led the tributes to Sutton describing him as a "gentle and thoughtful" man.
"The show was built from so many contributions from so many people, none finer and braver than Mark Sutton's,” the Slumdog Millionaire director told British newspaper the London Evening Standard.
"On behalf of everyone in the show we were all honored to have him worked with him and to have known him as a friend and a professional," he said.
He added that Mr Sutton's death would be a "huge loss to his profession" and that his thoughts were with his friends and family.
Trey Cook, the editor-in-chief for Epic TV, which organized the Swiss event, said the tight-knit wing-diving community was devastated by the accident.
“Mark was a very experienced pilot," he said. "Conditions were good yesterday and people had been flying extremely conservatively in the practice flights, but unfortunately this is a sport where there is very little margin for error.”
Millions of people watched the former British army officer as he parachuted towards London's Olympic Stadium dressed as James Bond, alongside stuntman Gary Connery, who was dressed as Queen Elizabeth II.
In a pre-recorded segment filmed at Buckingham Palace, Britain's queen greeted 007 star Daniel Craig with the words: “Good evening, Mr Bond” before the pair then walked towards a helicopter.
Moments later the stuntmen dived out of the helicopter over London's Olympic Park in costume, giving the effect that Craig and the monarch had leaped from the craft.
Wing-suit flying involves flying through the air in a specially designed device that adds surface area to the human body, enabling a significant increase in lift.
Sometimes referred too as "birdman" and "flying squirrel" suits, fabric is placed under the arms and between the legs, allowing users to simulate flying.
A flight normally ends with a parachute opening.
Across the border in France, the mayor of the mountain town, Chamonix, banned the sport after the death of Norwegian wing suit flyer, but it was lifted last month with new restrictions in place.
NBC News' Andy Eckardt contributed to this report.
Video from the 2012 Opening Ceremony of the Summer Games in London shows the stuntman who played actor Daniel Craig's stunt double as James Bond skydiving into the stadium. Mark Sutton, 42, recently died wingdiving in the Swiss Alps.
This story was originally published on Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:15 AM EDT