"Breaking Away" Stunt Recreation Fails Fatally
BLOOMINGTON -- A teenager who drowned in a southern Indiana quarry died
after making a 65-foot leap from an imposing ledge made famous in the movie
"Breaking Away," police said.
Walter Ayala of Washington jumped Saturday into Sanders Quarry from
"Rooftop" ledge, an imposing ledge from which actors in the 1979 film jumped
into the quarry in Bloomington.
Friends of the 18-year-old filmed his jump and continued shooting until they
jumped in to try to save him after he failed to resurface.
Divers soon reached Ayala, but he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
An autopsy Monday found the teen's death "consistent with drowning," said
Nicole Meyer, Monroe County's chief deputy coroner.
Indiana Limestone, which owns the property, posted numerous warnings
imploring people not to swim there, 6News' Ben Morriston reported.
"You've got the thrill-seekers in the younger age demographic, and they come
to jump the highest cliffs," said Brett Skilbred of Indiana Limestone.
Ayala and two friends were in town Saturday to watch the state high school
track championships, but they later visited the quarry.
Footage from his digital camera shows that Ayala was apparently injured when
he hit the water's surface after making his leap, a Monroe County police
"He hit the water with his face forward and it appeared that his head
snapped back when he hit the water," the report said. "He did not
Police released chilling images Monday taken from Ayala's camera showing he
and his friends jumping off various cliffs and walking near Sanders Quarry.
In a short video clip, Ayala films the spot where he would soon make his
"This is supposed to be scary," he said in the clip.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Department regularly patrols the secluded area,
frequently handing out tickets for trespassing and illegal consumption of
alcohol by minors.
The Academy Award-winning "Breaking Away" was about the Little 500 bicycle
race held annually at Indiana University since 1951.
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