New Zealand is the birth place of bungy jumping. There is even a safety organisation set up called the SANZ – Standards Association of New Zealand – whose role it is to over-see the safety operations of bungy jump outfits. Outfits like like the Jungle Bungy Jump in Phuket.
Rishi Baveja would probably like to speak to the safety officials concerning the ankle harnesses that this particular company uses.
Just recently, Baveja jumped from Jungle Bungy Jump’s 165 foot platform. After his experience, perhaps it should just be called Jungle Jump as there wasn’t much bungy involved.
According to the company’s website …
Safety and Harness
Our harness straps to your ankles, one of our jump masters will ensure you are secure before going up to 50 metres!
If only they made sure you were secure before dropping back down that same 50m.
As Baveja came to the extent of the cord’s length, his harness slipped off and he continued his fall to the lagoon below. He suffered multiple injuries, including two collapsed lungs and damage to his spleen.
In the video, you can just hear the operator quietly say “oh” as he realises what’s happening.
Doesn’t exactly make you want to go bungy jumping any time soon does it?! According to pattayadailynews.com:
Jungle Bungy Jump’s owner, Terry Pearce, said Rishi’s was the first accident the company had had in over 140,000 jumps during its 17 years of operation.
“He didn’t follow instructions,” Pearce said. “He jumped with his feet first, panicked and bicycle-kicked his way out of his harness. In 17 years we’ve never had anyone jump like that before.” Apparently, Jungle Bungy Jump had now changed the material used to wrap the jumper’s legs to a new material. “If someone jumps exactly the way he did, it won’t happen again. I can guarantee that,” Pearce asserted.
… really? It doesn’t look like he bicycle kicked, kung-foo’d or katate’d himself out of the harness in the video I watched.
I can say, from personal experience, that I’ve done a bungy jump at the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown – operated by A. J. Hackett. I felt totally safe throughout the whole experience. It’s hard to tell from the video but I’m sure my ankle harness was a lot more meaty than poor Baveja’s.
I actually fumbled in a similar fashion and jumped feet first. All that happened was that I snapped right back round again as I got towards the end of the cord. I felt a long, slow, reassuring elastic effect before hitting the river, and happily bounced back up again. I’m sure hundreds of people have jumped exactly the same way.
Here’s a video I recently recorded at Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump in Queenstown. This is what it’s supposed to look like!
So don’t let this guy’s experience put you off. Every time a jumper in Queenstown has hit the water, it’s been with his or her prior knowledge and explicit permission!