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Skydiver Hits Bridge in Colorado, Dies
AP via Yahoo! ^ | Oct 6, 2003 1:03 AM ET | AP

Posted on 10/06/2003 3:31:18 PM PDT by hattend

Skydiver Hits Bridge in Colorado, Dies Mon Oct 6, 1:03 AM ET Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!

CANON CITY, Colo. - A skydiver attempting a stunt was killed Sunday when he hit a 1,000-foot-high bridge and fell onto the rocks below, police said.

Dwain Weston, 30, died following the inaugural Go Fast Games, in which he and other parachutists had jumped off the 1,053-foot-high Royal Gorge Bridge, said Heather Hill, a vice president of event sponsor Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co.

Weston, of Australia, had jumped from an airplane with another parachutist. They were supposed to free fall until they reached the bridge, at which point Weston was to go above the bridge and the other athlete would go under it.

Weston, who was traveling an estimated 100 mph, miscalculated his distance from the bridge, the world's highest suspension bridge. He struck a railing and fell onto a rock face roughly 300 feet from the bottom of the gorge.

"I really couldn't believe it. All I ever heard was he was the best in the world, and he had skill to do it," Hill said. "Of course he always understood the risk and consequences of what he did. He was somewhat of a showman in his sport."

Weston was wearing a "wing suit," which has fabric extending below the arms to the body, with more fabric between the legs, allowing a skydiver to catch the air and travel more horizontally.

There were about 200 people on the bridge at the time of the accident, said Royal Gorge Bridge and Park executive director Mike Bandera. The bridge was shut down for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Before the accident, Weston had participated in the Go Fast Games, jumping off the bridge with about 40 other BASE jumpers — athletes who skydive from fixed objects.

The Royal Gorge is narrow for maneuvering parachutes, and winds are tricky, according to Go Fast Parachuting Director Jimmy Pouchert.

Hill said the accident would not affect future Go Fast Games, which also include rock climbing and BMX jumping.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: boyinterrupted; bridge; darwin; ouch; parachute; skydive; thatleftabruise; thatsgottahurt; thatsinkingfeeling; theabridgedversion
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1 posted on 10/06/2003 3:31:18 PM PDT by hattend
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To: All

Let's keep the Dem's on the run!
Click the Pic!

2 posted on 10/06/2003 3:32:00 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: hattend
That'd pretty much ruin your whole day.
3 posted on 10/06/2003 3:32:44 PM PDT by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: hattend
Somebody's GOT to have a video of this tard and his last moments. I wonder if there was a bloom when he hit the bridge.
4 posted on 10/06/2003 3:33:05 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: hattend
Before the accident, Weston had participated in the Go Fast Games, jumping off the bridge with about 40 other BASE jumpers — athletes who skydive from fixed objects.

All your base are ... oh, you know the drill.

5 posted on 10/06/2003 3:37:02 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Prop 53: YES|Prop 54: YES|Recall: YES|Governor: TOM, but will settle for Arnie)
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To: hattend
"Better put some ice on that"... William Jefferson Clinton
6 posted on 10/06/2003 3:38:14 PM PDT by tall_tex
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To: hattend
Sounds like he never pulled the ripcord.
7 posted on 10/06/2003 3:39:52 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: hattend
Once again..proof that gravity works...
8 posted on 10/06/2003 3:41:45 PM PDT by MD_Willington_1976
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To: Dog Gone
He was still in winged/glide mode probably waiting to pass the bridge before pulling the ricord...oops!
9 posted on 10/06/2003 3:41:49 PM PDT by hattend
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To: hattend
"All I ever heard was he was the best in the world, and he had skill to do it"

"Was" being the operative word here.

10 posted on 10/06/2003 3:43:24 PM PDT by martin_fierro (Prop 53: YES|Prop 54: YES|Recall: YES|Governor: TOM, but will settle for Arnie)
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To: SJSAMPLE
Somebody's GOT to have a video of this tard and his last moments. I wonder if there was a bloom when he hit the bridge.

Frome the story: There were about 200 people on the bridge at the time of the accident, said Royal Gorge Bridge and Park executive director Mike Bandera

You just have to know there are probably 20+ videos of this accident out there. Not sure I would want to see the one that's really close up and personal, though.

11 posted on 10/06/2003 3:44:50 PM PDT by hattend
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To: hattend
I've been there..it's a pretty wild setting.

If he was supposed to come screaming past the bridge and then pull his cord afterward, that would have been quite a show. Let me tell you there is very little room down there between those cliffs.

12 posted on 10/06/2003 3:45:13 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan (It's time for Arnold to stop splitting the Republican vote and step aside for the good of the party)
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To: SJSAMPLE
Somebody's GOT to have a video of this tard and his last moments.

Wjem accelerating rapidly, you want to avoid stationary objects. Call it a hard and fast rule.

13 posted on 10/06/2003 3:45:46 PM PDT by Jim Cane
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To: ElkGroveDan
The only time I've been to the bridge was when I was about 10 years old. I had an inner ear infection and when dad drove across that bridge...well, I can't describe the intense vertigo I experienced.

Plus, my screaming from the backseat of the family truckster made the trip across the bridge much faster than my dad wanted...LOL!

I have to go back someday.
14 posted on 10/06/2003 3:49:03 PM PDT by hattend
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To: hattend; mhking; hchutch; Chancellor Palpatine
32.2 feet per second per second.

It's not just a good idea, it's THE LAW!

"I fought the law and the law won..."
15 posted on 10/06/2003 3:52:12 PM PDT by Poohbah ("[Expletive deleted] 'em if they can't take a joke!" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: MD_Willington_1976
"Once again..proof that gravity works..."

And we all know that gravity is Darwin's friend.
16 posted on 10/06/2003 3:55:19 PM PDT by John Beresford Tipton
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To: hattend
I saw a show about BASE jumping, and the credits was an obiturary for every one of the (at least 5) people they interviewed.

I just hope they realize their hobby is a certain death wish.
17 posted on 10/06/2003 3:56:36 PM PDT by Monty22
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To: Monty22
Adds a whole new spin to our mothers' question:

"If all the other kids wanted to jump off a bridge, would you join them?"
18 posted on 10/06/2003 3:58:01 PM PDT by Poohbah ("[Expletive deleted] 'em if they can't take a joke!" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: hattend
The bridge was shut down for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Is THAT what they built this bridge for?

19 posted on 10/06/2003 4:09:22 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: John Beresford Tipton
"Once again..proof that gravity works..."

And we all know that gravity is Darwin's friend.

I used to believe that, but I have been converted.
I aknowledge that Darwin was in error.

This is obviously the result of Inteligent Design.

So9

20 posted on 10/06/2003 4:12:19 PM PDT by Servant of the 9 (Real Texicans; we're grizzled, we're grumpy and we're armed)
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To: .38sw
PING

So9

21 posted on 10/06/2003 4:13:27 PM PDT by Servant of the 9 (Real Texicans; we're grizzled, we're grumpy and we're armed)
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To: hattend; Squantos
That had to hurt.
22 posted on 10/06/2003 4:14:50 PM PDT by Travis McGee (----- www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com -----)
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To: Travis McGee
To quote a buddy of mine who is an avid skydiver:

"Remember, the ground ALWAYS has the right-of-way."
23 posted on 10/06/2003 4:16:02 PM PDT by Poohbah ("[Expletive deleted] 'em if they can't take a joke!" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: hattend

24 posted on 10/06/2003 4:24:47 PM PDT by 4mycountry (magni nominis umbra)
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To: 4mycountry
LOL!
25 posted on 10/06/2003 4:29:20 PM PDT by Poohbah ("[Expletive deleted] 'em if they can't take a joke!" -- Major Vic Deakins, USAF)
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To: Poohbah
As we always said, "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end."

Guess he just went, "A bridge too far."

Maybe Burt Lancaster was right about bat suits.
26 posted on 10/06/2003 4:36:19 PM PDT by tet68 (multiculturalism is an ideological academic fantasy maintained in obvious bad faith. M. Thompson)
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To: 4mycountry
That's funny!
27 posted on 10/06/2003 4:36:55 PM PDT by hattend
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To: Izzy Dunne
Is THAT what they built this bridge for?

The bridge serves no purpose other than to be the highest suspension bridge in the world. The road across it is made of wooden planks and it is just wide enough for two cars to pass. The whole thing moves when a vehicle crosses. The road doesn't really take you anywhere except the other side.

28 posted on 10/06/2003 4:58:16 PM PDT by smokinleroy
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
That deceleration trauma will get you every time...

Just damn.

If you want on the new list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

[As i mentioned, the B/C & JD! lists are going to float into and out of whack over the forseeable future, while I try to cobble a rig back together for myself. My apologies for any incovenience or misunderstandings in this time frame. New signups/removals may be flaky in this time-frame as well; please bear with me, and keep in mind you may have to FReepmail me more than once for me to get it done. Thanks again!]

29 posted on 10/06/2003 5:57:49 PM PDT by mhking (When it rains it pours: I'm looking for a job again -- any offers or help: mhking@bellsouth.net)
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To: ElkGroveDan
Awesome rafting in that area though.
30 posted on 10/06/2003 6:13:25 PM PDT by sweetliberty ("Having the right to do a thing is not at all the same thing as being right in doing it.")
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To: mhking
That is a freak show of a bridge. Every time I have walked across it has been a mental chore for my vertigo and me. Swinging back and forth with cracks between the wooden planks so you can actually see the water rushing by a thousand feet below. On my late wife and mine's last vacation there I managed to break the tension of vertigo by telling a group of rowdy teenagers to watch out for the loose boards in the middle. We laughed all the way across. You should have seen the looks on their faces and heard the sudden silence of their rowdiness.
31 posted on 10/06/2003 6:34:20 PM PDT by AdA$tra (Hypocricy is the Vaseline of social intercourse....)
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To: SJSAMPLE
I wonder if there was a bloom when he hit the bridge.

There had to be.
32 posted on 10/06/2003 7:11:30 PM PDT by thegreatbeast (Quid lucrum istic mihi est?)
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To: 4mycountry
My son creates Stick Figure Death Theater flash animations. I'll have to refer him to this article lol
33 posted on 10/06/2003 7:12:27 PM PDT by visualops (Two Wrongs don't make a right... They make the Democratic Ticket for 2004!)
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To: sweetliberty
Awesome rafting in that area though.

Rafting is a hobby of mine. What rivers are in that area?

34 posted on 10/06/2003 7:23:54 PM PDT by ConservativeLawyer
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To: ConservativeLawyer
The Arkansas River runs through the Canon City area and the gorge is supposed to be the best in the state.

This is a good outfit.

35 posted on 10/06/2003 7:32:42 PM PDT by sweetliberty ("Having the right to do a thing is not at all the same thing as being right in doing it.")
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To: sweetliberty
Thanks! Looks like an excellent trip!
36 posted on 10/06/2003 7:42:18 PM PDT by ConservativeLawyer
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To: ConservativeLawyer
This is from one of the trips my daughter and I took on the Arkansas.

.


37 posted on 10/06/2003 7:47:20 PM PDT by sweetliberty ("Having the right to do a thing is not at all the same thing as being right in doing it.")
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To: ConservativeLawyer
The Arkansas runs through the Royal Gorge....raft that and another stretch above it called Brown's canyon. It has a LOT of great rapids.

I worked as a guide on the river for three years, rafting it every week at least four times. Good Fun.
38 posted on 10/06/2003 10:02:40 PM PDT by gortklattu
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To: Dog Gone
I think I know what that skydiver was trying to do....open below ground level. Only one skydiver that I know of, BJ Worth had done that. (He did the work for the James Bond movies and did the ejection scene for the Right Stuff) I jumped with him in Casa Grande AZ in the 70's.

If the jumper was trying to open below ground level he had some time to adjust his fall before he hit the bridge. He may have tried to cut it close on purpose. That's my bet.

Terminal Velocity in a stable position is a little over 120 mph. I gather the ground rush he experienced was incredible. At least he died in a thrill. To the new jumpers, just jumping is kind of boring.

39 posted on 10/06/2003 10:08:52 PM PDT by gortklattu
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To: Servant of the 9
I never did jump off of any bridges, nor did I track toward any bridges, Swervie. Never seemed like a good idea to me.
40 posted on 10/07/2003 8:54:17 AM PDT by .38sw
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To: gortklattu
Thanks! I will have to plan a trip out there soon.
41 posted on 10/07/2003 1:38:29 PM PDT by ConservativeLawyer
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To: hattend
Gory, gory what a helluva way to die,
HE AIN'T GONNA JUMP NO MORE!!!!!
42 posted on 10/07/2003 1:44:04 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: sweetliberty
Text Version

Text Version
Here's a couple we took a few years ago, It is a LONG LONG way down.......
43 posted on 10/07/2003 2:02:49 PM PDT by 76834
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To: hattend
Weston, of Australia, had jumped from an airplane with another parachutist. They were supposed to free fall until they reached the bridge, at which point Weston was to go above the bridge and the other athlete would go under it.

Either one of these jumpers could have miscalculated their trajectory and instead of entering the gorge, impacted onto the rim above, or into the sidewalls of the gorge itself. I suspect for obvious reasons, the jumpers had to sacrifice some control by increasing their forward speed in order to hit the window (gorge). In other words, if their calculations were off initially, there would be a need to cover a greater distance to enter the safety of the gorge, requiring a steeper track in an effort to cover more distance. Unfortunately, the earth continues to get closer and closer as the seconds tick away, diminishing margins of error. Making the gorge was the first order of business, avoiding the walls and man made superstructures inside it, became the next order of business.

Weston, who was traveling an estimated 100 mph, miscalculated his distance from the bridge, the world's highest suspension bridge. He struck a railing and fell onto a rock face roughly 300 feet from the bottom of the gorge.

44 posted on 10/07/2003 2:20:16 PM PDT by freepersup (find the enemy... destroy the enemy... remain vigilant)
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To: freepersup
I wonder what their jump altitude was....

If they had their jump run along the gorge, rather than across it, they would minimize their spotting errors.

They didn't say if the jumper hit the leading or trailing part of the bridge. If he were in a "track", he didn't have room to flare out before opening.

I opened my canopy in a track ONCE. The opening shock had me seeing stars and I bloodied a lip from crashing my face into the center link of my harness. It's something you don't want to do. So lets assume that the jumper was in stable position when he hit; unless he knew he was in trouble.....then, why didn't he pull?

This incident just doesn't make sense unless the jumper lost his cool.
45 posted on 10/07/2003 7:32:51 PM PDT by gortklattu
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To: gortklattu
Correct me if I'm wrong but don't the new flying suits these guys are using slow the descent rate and therefore increase the "glide" ratio?

I don't know what a normal skydiver gets in a head down track, I imagine it's less than 1 to 1. With these suits they are supposedly getting better than 1 to 1.

I have a feeling this guy got a target fixation ("gee, don't hit that") and he flew right to where he was looking. I've done that in a 13 to 1 hangglider, I have no idea if that happens in freefall.

Thoughts?

46 posted on 10/08/2003 3:03:49 PM PDT by hattend
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To: hattend
If the glide ratio in a track with these new suits is better than 1:1, it's not by much. I was jumping in the days of tight suits and made the change to the bell suits. There was a difference, especially when you put on the "brakes", but the freefall difference wasn't that great...maybe 10 mph at altitude.

Jumpsuits here: http://www.bodysportusa.com/suits.htm

One suit is called the "crater suit", very apropos if you eat high speed dirt.

I believe the Royal Gorge is at 5,000 msl. You fall faster at that altitude...until you hit something.

Twice I had LOW openings. The ground rush is incredible once you get below 1,000 feet. My point is that the bridge was growing like a monster before he hit it. My thought is that this guy developed mind lock and didn't think objectively and with safety concerns about what he was doing....else he would have opened the pack as soon as he realized that he MAY be in trouble, especially at LOW altitude.

Jumper error started 10 secs before he hit the bridge... this is from an USPA ex-safety officer.

47 posted on 10/08/2003 3:56:23 PM PDT by gortklattu
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To: gortklattu
Those weren't the suits I was thinking of. Have you seen the Laura Croft II movie? They sprout wings!

Here is a related (kind of) thread.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/954749/posts
48 posted on 10/08/2003 4:51:49 PM PDT by hattend
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To: gortklattu
The thing is, how responsive is a human body in flight ? This was the first time (that I am aware of) where jumpers intentionally tracked towards a man made object. Think about it... ordinarily, one would be tracking away from such a structure...

Flying an F-16 under the bridge is one thing... willing your body to do what the mind wants it to do, in your very best track configuration is literally quite another...

What previous references, speaking specifically to manuvering head on into a gorge, intending to go under or over a bridge in a full blown track, did either of these jumpers have ?

Speaking from experience, the jumpers needed some data in relation to their capabilities, tracking to and fro, "around" objects. Sport jumping, or base jumping, doesn't provide the necessary feedback, to correlate to this first time event.

Imagine a couple of jumpers in freefall, seperated a known distance, each towing a piece of fabric, say 100' in length, simulating "targets". Another jumper delays their exit or exits from another a/c with the express purpose of manuvering around these targets, in an effort to determine their tracking and manuvering capabilities, while wearing the winged suits and maintaining their respective tracking positions...

They had to be: simultaneously, aligned properly within the center of the gorge, the proper distance from the bridge, and they had to be at the proper altitude above or below the bridge...

A missed exit point, unexpected freefall drift, human nature/ego wanting to accomplish said stunt, poor judgement, etc., would be additional factors in play...
I used to intentionally track towards people in freefall, as they would track towards me... served with the USAPT GK's... it was one of the most exhilirating experiences I have ever participated in... akin to a bird of prey diving after it's next meal... it ain't pretty when bad things happen to good people... a couple of times the "diamond" trackers got too close and collided with each other... needless to say, fatalities resulted... closing speed (impact) of 360 mph... ouch !

During winter training in Yuma, Az., (1984) some of us (USAPT GK's) discovered that we had unintentionally stretched (from circular to oblong) our largest D ring/s, which were the rings attached to the harness and part of the Booth 3-ring circus cutaway system, during excessively hard openings following the diamond track manuvers. The manufactured lot of D rings were condemned and we were grounded until they sent a quick fix solution.

A replacement D ring with an attachable connecter link, similar to the more conventional connecter links located at the riser/suspension line connection point, were afixed with threaded screws and "Loctite" adhesive for good measure. The deformed oblong D ring had the potential to restrict the middle ring of the 3-ring circus, from passing through itself in the event of a cutaway.
49 posted on 10/08/2003 5:28:22 PM PDT by freepersup (find the enemy... destroy the enemy... remain vigilant)
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To: hattend
a jumper in freefall and in a track position, (think of the ski jumpers at the Olympics, but head down) gets about a 1:1 glide ratio... exiting from 12,000' agl, a tracker could cover approximately 2 miles (10,000') before opening their parachute...

seems I read (which I question) that their descent rate was 30 mph and their forward speed was about 90-100 mph...
50 posted on 10/08/2003 5:34:11 PM PDT by freepersup (find the enemy... destroy the enemy... remain vigilant)
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