The former movie extra had been attempting to climb the Huayuan Centre, the tallest building in Changsha, capital of China's Hunan province. On social media Wu was referred to as "Chinese Superman" since he scaled such tall buildings without protective gear or safety harnesses, relying upon martial arts training and careful timing to perform these risky feats.
He'd post his videos on Weibo, a Chinese social media site similar to Twitter. Millions of followers watched as he would tiptoe along a skyscraper, stand atop a high tower, or hang by his fingertips over a ledge. His fans noticed that he'd stopped sharing videos online, and that's when his family broke the news.
His step-uncle Feng Shengliang told the Straits Times that Wu planned to propose to his girlfriend the day after completing the stunt.
|Wu Yongning performing some of his risky stunts.|
Wu is one of many who have died while rooftopping, a craze also called "urban exploration." This fascination involves amateur stuntsmen, or self-confessed skywalkers, scaling tall buildings or high-rise structures in order to snap the perfect photo. Some are so dedicated to this hobby that they travel the world taking such pictures.
There are many tragic stories of people falling to their death performing such stunts. One of the most notable is 17-year-old Andrey Retrovsky, who died while doing a building-hang in Russia, where the rooftopping craze is huge. That same year, 24-year-old Conner Cummings was killed in New York City while trying to climb the Four Seasons Hotel, a 52-story building.
Despite regular fatalities, rooftopping continues to increase in popularity. It's about more than just thrill-seeking. A GoPro video from a selfie-stick that goes viral promises millions of hits and thousands of dollars in revenue. It can also increase star-power. Some models have taken high-rise photos to set themselves apart from other models, attracting more attention.
But they are literally risking their lives for fame and fortune. For Wu Yongning, it cost him everything. Said the China Daily editorial, "With all the likes and comments, he overestimated his own abilities and finally lost his life because of that feeling. Had Wu not been so popular on live-streaming apps, he might not have died."
Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Regarding daredevil rooftopping, that's quite literal.
When a person falls while doing pretty much anything else, they can pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and try again, learning from the mistakes they made. But when a rooftopper falls... that's it. One wrong move and life is over. The mark they leave on the world will be the stain they left on 57th street when their body hit the pavement.
Do not think to yourself, "Well, I'm not putting myself up there to fall and die like that so I've got nothing to worry about." They might be taking greater risks than you are, but your life is still just as fragile, and your fall might be today.
"You do not know what tomorrow will bring," it says in James 4:14-16. "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."
Peter said, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time, He may exalt you, casting your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour, Resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Peter 5:6-9).
Believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. You have nothing to fear of death, for Christ has raised you up and seated you in the heavenly places with Him. Seek the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And when Christ who is your life appears, you will be with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
But if you do not humble yourself before the Lord, your fall will be greater than a slip from atop a sky-scraper. God in His righteous judgment will cast you into the hell of fire for all eternity. Life is too short and too fragile to take such a risk. Believe in Jesus today. Call out to Him for forgiveness. And the Bible promises that He will save you, as only Jesus can.