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Speed flying: Paragliding and skiing down active Mount Etna

Thursday 17 May 2012 10:46 a.m.

Two Italian speed flyers have successfully completed their attempt to descent Europe's biggest and most active volcano.

Speed flying is a combination of paragliding and skiing - they can reach speeds of up to 100 kph.

Felice Boccanegra and Jody Barratin and their team have become the first people to glide down Sicily's Mount Etna on paraglider and a pair of skis.

The two adventurers were joined by a team of guides and expert mountaineers in spring this year on their way to the top of the volcanic mountain.

The conditions on Mount Etna have previously made the task very difficult. It peaks at 3,329 metres above sea level and has already erupted about four times since January this year.

Mr Boccanegra and Mr Barratin had to wait for the perfect time to attempt the risky summit.

Once reaching the peak of the mountain, Mr Barratin said the team felt very lucky to make it all the way up.

"Being here today is just an amazing sensation. We had a really beautiful way up and now we are here in this beautiful environment," he said. "You can smell the smoke the smell of the volcano. You can feel it - you can listen to the noise."

He added that despite the volatility of the volcano, he and Mr Boccanegra felt they were in safe hands.

"Touring with these friends was amazing because the skiers are really experts and we have a guide with us, so we're pretty safe. We feel safe and the way up was absolutely beautiful and the company, too," he said.

After reaching the summit the team then decided to set off into a high-speed descent back down to the valley.

Watch the incredible video attached to this article of their descent.

3 News / Reuters

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