METCALFE — Brandon Jackson, 37, a retired U.S. Army master sergeant formerly of Michigan and currently of Hawaii, is dead after jumping off a phone tower in Metcalfe Thursday morning.
At approximately 2:30 a.m., Jackson and two other men went to the tower off Roddenberry Road near Metcalfe
Thomas County Sheriff's Office Capt. Steve Jones said the trio was there for Jackson to BASE jump off the tower. BASE jumping is parachuting from a fixed structure. The tower is reportedly one of the tallest in Georgia.
Jackson climbed to about 1,600 feet, nearly to the top of the 1,800 to 2,000 foot tower, with a parachute and jumped.
The other men, Miles Edwin Daisher, 47, of Twin Falls, Idaho, and Tom Patrick Baker, 29, of North Carolina, stayed on the ground. According to Jones, the men told investigators they heard the chute open and then another noise they couldn’t identify.
Daisher and Baker searched the area for about an hour, looking for Jackson, according to Jones, before they called authorities. Jones said the Sheriff’s Office received the call around 3:30 a.m.
A massive search involving the Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas County Emergency Management Services and local residents who provided four-wheelers and manpower ensued. The Leon County Florida Sheriff’s Office used a helicopter to try to find a heat signature, but the effort was unsuccessful. The search began at the tower and expanded outward.
Jackson’s body was found by Metcalfe residents Randy and Patti Benton late Thursday morning. He was found approximately 800 to 1,000 yards from the tower, according to Jones, about 20 feet inside of the edge of nearby woods.
Randy Benton said the parachute was in the tree and the deceased man was at the bottom of the tree. Benton went for authorities while his wife stayed with the body.
“That’s certainly not something you see everyday,” Benton said.
“The wind was possibly a factor,” said Jones. “According to the National Weather Service, it was gusting at over 40 mph at that time. The chute did deploy. He may have hit a guide wire.
"We won’t know for sure until the investigation is completed,” he said.
Jones thanked all the responding law enforcement and local residents for their help, calling the search a “fabulous team effort.”
Daisher and Baker were arrested and charged with criminal trespass. Other charges may be pending.
According to Allison Smith with the Twin Falls Times-News and Magicnews.com in Twin Falls, Idaho, Daisher is from Warner Robins, but he’s lived in Twin Falls for quite some time.
She said Daisher is a nationally recognized BASE jumper who brought national attention to BASE jumping and Twin Falls by setting a world record.
The Perrine Bridge near Twin Falls is one of the few places in the country where it is legal to BASE jump year round without a permit.
“In 2005, Miles jumped from the Perrine Bridge 57 times in less than 24 hours, hiking out of the Snake River Canyon each time, approximately the equivalent distance as hiking Mount Everest,” she said.
He is one of the organizers of the Perrine Bridge Festival each September, which raises money for the local hospital foundation. He also runs a business in Twin Falls where he teaches people to pack parachutes, BASE jump, etc.