Wu Yongning, 26, who called himself “China’s First Rooftopper,” a daredevil plummeted to his death during a risky stunt near the top of a 62-story building in China. Yongning’s girlfriend and family members confirmed his death.
When a video clip (Warning: Disturbing content), went viral, it racked up more than 15 million views on Chinese social media. The clip shows Yongning, on the roof of Huayuan International Centre in Changsha skyscraper, lowering himself over the edge of the building to do a pull-up stunt. He struggled for a few moments when he tried to hoist himself back up, before losing his grip and plummeting down the side of the building.
The camera phone that he had set up to record the stunt quickly lost sight of him.
The fatal fall was listed as an accident according to authorities. They have ruled out foul play. Police believe he plunged about 45 feet onto a terrace and died of his injuries either during or right after the plunge.
His girlfriend, Jinjin, said she believes Yongning took an elevator “over 40 floors” and began his climb “nearly 20 more floors” until he reached the spot where he filmed.
The building only allows the public access to the 44th floor. Key cards are needed to access the Grand Hyatt Hotel, according to the report.
Yongning would have received 100,000 yuan, about $15,000 for the stunt; his family said. It is unclear who was offering that prize.
“He planned to propose to his girlfriend [the day after the challenge],” Yongning’s step-uncle Feng Shengliang said. “He needed the money for the wedding, and for medical treatment for his ailing mother.”
One friend commended Yongning’s selflessness in a post on the Chinese social media site Weibo:
“You are one of those people in this world, you will do anything for your loved ones, absolutely anything,” the user wrote.
Others, however, criticized him for the reckless act.
“Why would you seek attention in such a dangerous way, just for your fans?” another person posted.
Yongning was known for scaling skyscrapers without any safety equipment. He used just his own “martial arts training and careful planning,” one of his Weibo posts said. He shared nearly 300 videos of his death-defying acts.