Owen J. Quinn

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Owen J. Quinn (born 1941 in the Bronx, New York) was the first person to successfully parachute off one of the World Trade Center towers. He did this on July 22, 1975.[1]

The beginning[edit]

In an interview with C. J. Sullivan of the New York Press, Quinn claims that his first memories were of "how it all got bad very quick". His mother grew sick and was hospitalized for a long stretch of time and finances for the family were low so his father had to place him and his sister in an orphanage for six years. Later on, when his mother got well, the family moved to Highbridge together. Even though things were looking up, they were still tough. Quinn got into trouble running the streets of Highbridge and hated school (he went to two different high schools), so at only 15 years of age he began working.

After traveling the world (twice), marriage (in 1962) and a tour of duty with the Merchant Navy in Vietnam (in 1966), Quinn decided to settle down after his first child was born, and went into construction. He soon got a job with the dock builders' union, working at the World Trade Center. He claims to have been inspired after seeing a model of the WTC, not paying much attention to the grandness of such an architectural achievement, but the great BASE jumping opportunity that it offered. By that time, Quinn had long ago had his first taste of parachuting and absolutely loved it and wanted to die doing it.[citation needed] So, with more than 850 jumps and a jump-master license under his belt in July 1975, he was ready.

The jump[edit]

On July 22, with his friend Mike Sergio, Quinn disguised himself as a construction worker and hid his parachute in a duffel bag (covered with tools) and made his way up the North Tower. They were met by a security guard, and while Sergio distracted him, Quinn continued toward the roof and got into his parachute. Quinn says he "stepped back about 15 feet and ran fast right to the end". Sergio shot a picture and called it "The Point of No Return". Quinn wore a blue football jersey with the biblical verse, Matthew 19:26: "But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible".

When he landed, he was arrested by Port Authority Police and taken for psychiatric exams at two different hospitals, Elmhurst and St. Vincent. When it was concluded that he was in fact sane, he was booked and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, and reckless endangerment.[1] Within the course of a year Quinn made 19 appearances in court, but the case was eventually dropped.

In 1978, Quinn appeared on the game show To Tell The Truth.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Geoff Craighead (July 15, 2009). "Daredevils, Protestors and Suicides". High-Rise Security and Fire Life Safety. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 116. ISBN 9780080877853. Retrieved February 4, 2014. Quoting from: Gillespie, Angus K. "Twin Towers: the Life of New York City's World Trade Center." Rutgers University Press, 1999 
  2. ^ "YouTube full episode of To Tell The Truth, featuring Owen Quinn". Youtube.com. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2014-02-04.