Recently a group of professional paratroopers from Venezuela and Ecuador decided to embark on the adventure of breaking a record title by attempting the most crossings of the Equator during a parachute jump by a team.

Ernesto Gainza, along with his fellow troopers Santiago Vallejo, Robert Dueñas, José Rafael Barcia and Hermogenes Barcia decided to achieve this feat over the beaches of Coaque in the province of Pedernales, Manabí, Ecuador where latitude 0º 0′ 0″is located.

Paratrooper 3

The first official attempt started on 9 January 2020 in the morning, but due to unexpected weather conditions, the team wasn’t able to achieve the minimum number of required crossings at 10.

Want to read this article in Spanish? Check it out here.

The second official attempt started the same day in the afternoon. However, for the same reasons they were not successful.

With one attempt left to go, they decided to try one last and final time the next day at 2:00 p.m. on board a Cessna 206 aircraft, which transported five paratroopers, and was piloted by Melissa Ruano.Paratrooper 2

She elevated a lane to the height of 12,000 feet, exactly on the Equator line. The paratroopers made the long-awaited jump consecutively, and after just 20 minutes in the air they managed to do an incredible 12 crossings.

“This achievement is special because it is accompanied by an important message. We want people to know that the equator is not where the world is divided, but where the two hemispheres meet. And with that purpose in mind, we descend with the zigzag-shaped parachutes, as if suturing an imaginary line. In this way, we prove to the world that when there are people together, great things can be done.” José Rafael Barcia

This team showed us that the lives, safety, and integrity of its members are a priority. Facing difficult climatic conditions made them reconsider how to approach the record attempt, and they ultimately made the decision to postpone the attempt until weather conditions improved, a sound decision which has turned them into the new record holders. 


Official adjudicator, Natalia Ramirez, was on site to confirm the record of 12 crossings in real-time and award the official certificate.

“Without a doubt, this record attempt was not one for the faint of heart. From the waiting to get optimal weather conditions, the actual jump at 12,000 feet in the air to the extra challenge of not having land visual cues during the attempt, it was an enormous challenge that ended with exceptional results.The effort and tenacity of these five participants is what being part of the Guinness World Records family is all about. Always giving your all until the very end.”