FRIENDS and family of motorcycle rider and daredevil Alex Harvill say they knew there was always a chance he could die while trying to break a world record jump.
Harvill, 28, was practicing for a record-breaking stunt in Moses Lake, Washington when he crashed and died after his jump fell short.
Daredevil Alex Harvill died in a crash on Thursday while practicing for a world record jumpCredit: Instagram/Alex Harvill
The accident occurred at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, WashingtonCredit: Instagram/Alex Harvill
Harville is survived by his wife and two kidsCredit: Harvill Family
“Everyone around there was traumatized by that,” said family friend Debbie Williams. “I knew coming out here today there would be a chance. I really hoped it wouldn’t.”
“The next thing I know, he went off the ramp and he didn’t make it to the hill,” Williams said. “His back tire…looks like it got caught and then he flew through the air and his helmet came off. And then you just start praying.”
Harvill, previously set a world record for the longest dirt-to-dirt jump, clocking in at 297 feet in 2013, died while being airlifted to the hospital, authorities said.
According to video shot by KREM 2, it took about two and a half minutes for an EMT to reach Harvill.
Video footage shows Harvill taking off as he practiced for the record-breaking jump
Harville had previously broken a world record for the longest dirt bike jump
Harville’s helmet was seen flyinig off when he fell, witnesses saidCredit: KREM 2
“I’m a nurse, so that to me was traumatic,” witness Becca Camden said. “Watching that, with his helmet coming off…”
In a statement issued to the station, Harville’s family said “while this was obviously a very tragic event that unfolded, Alex was doing what he loved to do. And we thank everyone for their outpouring of support.”
Such tragedies are not uncommon in the daredevil world, with famous stuntman Robbie Knievel’s company commenting on Harvill’s loss.
“Our sincere condolences go out to the Harvill family and Alex’s friends, they are all in our thoughts and prayers,” said Team Knievel CEO Warren Croyle.
“We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that such stunts are to be taken very seriously as the potential for tragedy exists.”
Harvill, who lived in Ephrata, Washington, is survived by his wife Jessica and two children
The couple are parents to Willis, five years old, and Watson, a newbornCredit: Instagram/Alex Harvill
A GoFundMe for Alex has already raised $65,000 of its $75,000 goal that will go to his familyCredit: Instagram/Alex Harvill
“We regret to report today at our first event of the airshow – the Guinness World Record Jump Attempt, Alex Harvill was injured during his warm-up before the jump and has been taken to the hospital,” wrote the Mose Lake Airshow in a post, where the accident occurred.
“Our hearts are with Alex and his family,” it continued. “All proceeds from today’s jump will be donated to Alex to contribute to his medical expenses.”
A GoFundMe created for Harville has so far reached $65,000 of its $75,000 goal.
Harvill was attempting to break the distance record for longest motorcycle jump, set at 351 feet – the equivalent of the full goal-to-goal length of an NFL football field – by Robbie Maddison in March 2008.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to Alex’s family, friends and loved ones,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
According to reports, Harvill landed short of the downward slope of the landing ramp on a practice run, causing him to fly roughly 20 feet over the handlebars before landing.
Harvill’s helmet reportedly flew off in the crash.
An autopsy will be performed Friday, according to the Grant County coroner, determining an exact cause of death.
Harvill, who lived in Ephrata, Washington, is reportedly survived by his wife, Jessica, and children Willis, five years old, and Watson, a newborn.
Last month, speaking to the Columbia Basin Herald, Harvill said: “I’ve been riding since I was 4, but before that, I would ride on the front of my dad’s bike.
“My entire life I’ve ridden dirt bikes and looked up to everyone that races dirt bikes and think of those guys as heroes.”
In 2013, Harvill set the record for the longest dirt-to-dirt jump at just over 297 feet.