MANHATTAN — Video footage showing a death-defying leap from the top of 1 World Trade Center was posted on YouTube Monday by an attorney of one of the four men accused of carrying out the stunt as they turned themselves in to police.
The 4:57 minute clip filmed on the helmet-mounted camera of James Brady, 32, who had been an ironworker at the site until around Thanksgiving, showed him and the other two parachutists — identified by police as Andrew Rossig, 33, and Marko Markovich, 27 — as they walk around the lip of America's tallest building on Sept. 30, Brady's attorney said.
Hundreds of feet below them is the glittering 3 a.m. Manhattan nightscape.
The video captures the nerves of the jumpers before they plunge off the building.
"Everybody, have a safe jump. Get away in one piece. Thank f---ing dear Lord that we made it this far. He's going to watch out for us," Brady says to his fellow parachutists at one point before the leap.
Brady plummets earthward for about 13 seconds before his chute opens and he glides to his landing at the intersection of West and Warren streets.
As the trio plunged, a fourth man, Kyle Harwell, 29, filmed the feat from the ground and acted as a getaway driver, prosecutors said.
Brady's attorney, Andrew Mancilla, said he posted the video online after his client and the other jumpers turned themselves in as a counter to the Port Authority's claims that the stunt violated the "sacred site" of the World Trade Center.
"We're trying to monetize it so that any advertising revenue will be put into a charity account," Mancilla said.
Though they have yet to make a final decision about where the donation will go, Mancilla said, "it's probably going to be for the families of those who were lost in 9/11."
Mancilla didn't immediately know how much money the video had made by Tuesday morning, but it had already garnered more than 325,000 views, according to its YouTube page.
Sources said investigators had tracked down the quartet in February, but became more eager to charge them after a 16-year-old from New Jersey, Justin Casquejo, managed to sneak up to the top of the skyscraper last week.
Both stunts received major media attention and highlighted failings in security at what many consider to be America's top terrorism target.
The parachutists managed to enter the site through a hole in the fence and walk up to the 104th floor without encountering another person, sources said.
Similarly, Casquejo entered the site through a foot-wide hole in the fence and scaled exterior scaffolding before taking an elevator to the top floor, where he slipped past an "inattentive" guard, Port Authority officials said.
"No one was harmed except for the Port Authority, whose lack of security was exposed," said attorney Timothy Parlatore, who represents Rossig.
"The proper resolution is not to punish these young men, but to close security to prevent it from happening again."
Investigators from both the Port Authority and the NYPD managed to track down the jumpers after their names repeatedly surfaced as people who pull of similar stunts, sources said.
Investigators obtained search warrants for the men and uncovered video footage of a WTC jump captured on GoPro cameras — a lightweight gadget that can be fastened to a helmet — in February, sources said.
The parachutists were arraigned on charges of burglary, reckless endangerment and jumping from a structure, according to police and court records.
Their bail was set at $3,500 and they must surrender their passports. They're due back in court on July 23.
"These men violated the law and placed themselves, as well as others, in danger. These arrests should send a message to anyone thinking about misusing a landmark in this way," NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement.
"They will be tracked down and they will face serious charges. Being a thrill-seeker does not give them immunity from the law."
The Port Authority also condemned the stunt.
"One of the jumpers worked construction at the WTC and violated the spirit of respect and reverence for this sacred site that almost all connected with the WTC project feel," said the Port Authority's chief security officer, Joseph Dunne.
"It should be clear that the PAPD and NYPD will go to any length to bring those who defile the WTC site to justice."