Bungee Club Accidents

This is the saddest part of the disasters section. Sometimes accidents are just that, accidents - sadly the victim doesn't always have control over the situation and is trusting whoever they are jumping with - bear this in mind when choosing a club or even when you are at a site.


Do It Yourself Bungee Jumping?

Jul 12 1997

Reston VA fastfood worker Eric Barcia assembles a bungee cord reaching nearly 70 feet in length and jumps from a 70 foot railroad trestle. Barcia did not take into account the fact that a bungee stretches on use, therefore his head impacted the pavement at the full force of gravity. (Source: Washington Post)


Bridge Attchment Failed?

Fatal Bungee Accident in Italy (english version) link sent in by Roberto:

May 2002: Two people died jumping from the Polino bridge in Italy. the cord was retieved in complete condition leading investigator to beleive that the way the cord was attached to the bridge had somehow failed.


Riverbed Touchdown

From David:

Around March 1990 I did a jump with "Bungee Down Under" in Surfers Paradise Australia. They seemed a professional outfit and for all I know they are still there today. I was weighed twice and the the Bungee was checked several times. The jump took place over about four foot of water. As I fell I slowed down but not enough to prevent me from hitting the sand at the bottom. Result - no serious injury as I had almost halted although I badly sprained a finger. I was too elated at having jumped to dwell on it although later I was quite angry. At the time the crew blamed it on the fact that instead of jumping out properly I had keeled over the edge of the platform and dropped like a stone - although surely lots of first time jumpers do this? Still at least I am still here to tell the tale!


No Backup = PAIN

From Mike Edward:

I am writing to you to tell you of an accident which I was made aware off while traveling in New Zealand earlier this year (2001). I have done several bungy jumps at different locations and was going to do one while in NZ but after finding out about this accident and checking into the bungy location I was very much disturbed by what I found. I have done many of the outdoor adventurous activities in NZ and have enjoyed them completely without a great amount of worry for my safety. Well here is what I found when I was in Taupo at Lake Taupo on the North Island of NZ. I was at a local backbackers place in town and was asking about doing the bungy at the "Taupo Bungy" and after a while someone told me of an accident that they had had in the late summer of 2000. It seems that a woman was jumping and on her 1st or 2nd rebound she came completely out of the harness attached to her ankles. She then freefell from approx. 25 meters and hit the water very hard. She was very bruised up and spent a few days in the hospital but was okay afterwards. I was told it had been reported in the local newspapaer so I called and they verified that this accident had happened but only gave me limited details. So I decided to go down to the location and have a look for myself on how they do the bungy jumping.

I first went into the office and asked all the regular questions and then since I know how to ask questions to get specific information that people don't always give out I asked the clerk behind the counter if they had ever had any accidents or injuries. I was told that they had a 100% safety record with no accidents. I said that that was hard to believe that people are always hurt in some way or other when doing different physical activities and then the clerk did say that "Oh Yes" from time to time someone does get a bloody nose or a skinned hand trying to grab the bungy cord. I then went outside to the jump location; the platform as they call it, and just watched for awhile. I had found out that this accident had happened due to the woman coming out of the "ankle Cuffs" as they are called. So I wondered if they had done something different now to prevent this from happening. What I saw was to say the least shocking. They still were only using the "ankle cuffs" to attach the jumper to the bungy cord and no other form of additional attachment in case that another jumper was to come out of the "ankle cuffs".

I then waited for the right moment between the staff having jumpers and I asked them some questions about their procedures and their safety record. They first said that they had never had and accident and that it wasn't possible for the jumper to come out of the "ankle cuffs". I asked why and they just said that it couldn't happen and that they always check everything before the jumper does their jump. I kept asking different questions and finally one of the crew did admitt that it was possible to come out of the "ankle cuffs" but that they were always careful. I asked if that was even possible why didn't they use some form of other attachment in addition to provide more safety to their operation and they said that it was necessary and was too much trouble to deal with. I then told them that I had found out about the accident the year before and they were shocked that I knew about it. I said it was a matter of public record and one of them said they couldn't comment on that and the other one later admitted that it had happened.

To say the least I was very put off by everything that I was told and saw and decided that I would not jump at this establishment. I felt and still feel that the owners and the staff are not living up to their stated claim of being completely safety consciencous. I left this place with a bad feeling and just hope that anyone who goes there to jump doesn't have a bad experience due to safety. I later found out about your web site and checked into it and that's why I am writing this to you. I firmly believe that all businesses should be made to account for their actions and as bungy jumping is still rather new to the world maybe we as the public need to make sure that things like this accident are at least reported so that we can make an informed decision when thinking about bungy jumping or anything else. If you wish to check this out further you can check with the local newspaper in Taupo, NZ and also I believe that whe was taken to a hospital in a town nearby called Rotaroua; not sure of the spelling. I hope you decide to include this in your web site as I feel it is important that the facts be known.


Quick Release...

The source for this story wishes to remain anonymous while they persue legal action.

I was at a family fun center type of place. It was my husband's birthday, and I wanted to do something exciting for the occasion. I was a little afraid at first, so I asked the lady selling the jumps if anyone had ever been hurt on it before, and if she felt it was safe or not. She reassured me it was very safe and that their was nothing to worry about. The two people working the tower were very young, and one even admitted to be only 18 or 19. Anyway, I made one jump successfully, and liked the rush I got, so I went for a second jump. As I was falling, I had a bad feeling. I bounced out until I was hanging, and I waited for them to lower me to the rope platform. People said they heard a snap, and I free fell to the rope net thing. I landed on my back and bounced about 10 feet, and landed on my back and neck. One wittness at the top of the tower claims the girl pushed the release lever, and I didn't move. As I started to fall, she pushed it back up. I don't know what really happened, but I was badly injured, and my family called emergency. I am suing the facility and the company who built the tower.


More Macho Reports...

From our roving reporter Macho:

16, Aug 2001 in South Korea, a male pay-jumper was seriously injured when he smashed to the water by the cord teared off during a 25 m bungee jump in Ganglung city, Gangwon-do.

4 pm, 13, Oct, 2001 also in South Korea, a high school girl(15) jumped from 40 m bungee tower without cord attached on her body at Daesungli, Gapyunggun, Gyunggi-do. Fortunetely she falled down on the air mattress so got serious bruises on her body. But she was hospitalized for a while 'coz had serious symptoms of unrest and shock. She testfied "on the jump platform, jump crews were nervous and didn't connected a bungee cord to me. And just let me jump from there!" Also the owner acknoledged they had made mistakes; "We didn't do safely and committed a serious fault".

Macho Comments: actually they used uninspected cords and gear. and jump crews did not basic trained for safety operations and controls.

Oct, 1999 in Shanghai, China. A Taiwanese pay jumper bungee jumped from a 40 m tower in the park, but he died when he smashed to the hard soil by broken connecting cababiner.

16, Apr, 2000 Tianjin, China. A woman and man were seriously injured when they crashed to the air mattress during a tandem bungee jump from 33 m tower platform. Now days, there are 20+ bungee facilities run around the Main China since the 1997, but still many of them don't care about the 'Safety'.


Double the fun means double the cord...

Yahoo News

Tuesday June 5 7:50 AM ET 2001

One Dead, One Injured in Bungee Jump

PARIS (Reuters) - A 22-year-old woman died and her male companion was seriously injured when they crashed to the ground during a bungee jump from a viaduct in central France, local authorities said Monday.

Police said they had detained the organizer of the bungee jump after Sunday's accident.

``The jump organizer thinks the accident was generated by an error on his part that consisted of choosing elastic that did not fit the weight of two people jumping together,'' a police spokesman told France's LCI television.


Hitting the Platform!?

As Scotty once said to Capt Kirk - "You cannie change the laws of physics", however this next story from Sharon seems to indicate that!.

This may confirm an previously reported story regarding a crane collision. It may have been me they were talking about.

Date was June 1986 and some Bungee jumping was organised by ODSC for a Charity SWOG (Swim and Jog) event in the Boat House car park off Donnington Bridge. I was a student at Oxford Poly at the time and volunteered to jump..apparently the only girl that afternoon so I was led to believe.

I wore a body harness, with the elastic rope extending from my middle (stomach region) and jumped backwards (facing the platfrom and jumpmaster). I jumped and on the rebound found myself turned in the air and upside down (going back up towards the platform feet first). This was slightly disorientating but in retrospect it turned out to be extremly fortunate since I hit the underside of the platform on the nearside to the crane and almost went up between the two.

It was all photgraphed by either the Oxford Journal or Star, but despite efforts on my part to get copies I haven't yet succeeded. Anyway, I damaged a knee from the prang, (torn ligament and bruising...), but it was well worth it, although the falling experience petrified me (and I pulled out of a pre-arranged parchute jump as a result ~ complete "whuss" I know).

Needless to say, it is was a rare joy to experience such a phenomenal adrenaline buzz and now as I stumble through my thirties, with creaking joints and screaming at the mere sight of a spider ... I'm glad I did it.

Crikey!

I have heard of issues of people hitting the platform but that was usually due to the fact that they were sandbagging, that's where you jump with a heavy object and at the bottom of your fall you drop it , so the potential elastic energy you have at the bottom of your fall is greater than if you just jumped normally - when you think about it - like in a physics class - it should be almost impossible to get back upto the height you jumped from when you consder how inefficient the system is, the only thing I can imagine is that the place you jumped from was considerably higher than the bottom of the platform.

After even more thought and looking at this page - if you look at the Guam Accident it could happen that when Sharon was at the bottom of her fall, a problem with the cabling in the crane could case the cage to drop - thus making it possible for her to hit it on her way back up...


Wrong Cord!?

ZURICH (Reuters) - A Swiss outdoor adventure company has halted operations after an American died in a bungee jumpingouting it organized over the weekend the second fatal accident linked to the company in less than a year.

Adventure World owner Georg Hoedle said the company had suspended all activity while police probed why the 22-year-old American hit the ground at full speed Saturday when jumping from a cable car near the Schilthorn peak in central Switzerland.

"We don't know much. The authorities are still investigating the circumstances," Hoedle told the Sonntags Zeitung Sunday newspaper.

He declined to comment on speculation the jumper might have been using an elastic rope that was too long for the 100-meter (yard) plunge from a cable car suspended over a parking lot.

He acknowledged the cable car was carrying two ropes one for the 100-meter jump and other for an 180-meter jump. But he said they were different colors and clearly marked to prevent mixing them up.

Adventure World also organized a disastrous whitewater canyoning expedition last July in which 21 people drowned. A flash flood surprised the victims as they made their way down a narrow gorge near Interlaken in the Bernese Alps.

Prosecutors are still weighing whether to charge company officials with criminal negligence for the deaths.

Hoedle said he could not explain why the company had been linked to two such tragedies in such a short time.

"We went over our safety guidelines painstakingly after the Saxetenbach (canyoning) accident. Every staff member is safety conscious right down to his fingertips. And now this. I cannot imagine it. It is crazy."


Brrrrrr it's chilly

This from Macho:

8 Jan 1999. Probably 1st bungee accident on 1999.
Chilly cold evening in Pusan city, Korea. A 16 yr-old girl jumped off T-tower platform(15 m high), looks liked fine but a support wire iced so could not work when let her down by machine. So she was hanging in the air(10 m high from ground) about 4 hour until fire rescue team came up and let her down on the airmatt.

Investigation: ignored basic regulation even cold weather condition. Tower system (couples in Korea) from States but operators has no any training for safety or rescue situation. Finally the local owner(operator) said "Frankly I didin't know much about bungee, I just wanna make money.. that's all from TV news.


Crash Pad

This from Macho:

In Pusan city. On 26th Jan 1999. At the same bungee site that had an accident involving a girl hanging in the air 10m before.

Yesterday afternoon around 3 PM. A 15 yrs old pay jumper jumped from a 65ft. tower platform, but the cord teared off and his body smashed into the air mat below. Fortunetely the teenage jumper survived with a minor injury... but needs to rest in hospital for a while.

Investigation: used very old elastic cord(looks like a pony tail) which was never replaced for 7 monthes. Operator ignored basic regulations and cord replacement policy. Owner also do not know bungee even less about bungee industry & elastic cord characteristics. Local council can do nothing because of no guideline from the government.


Miss Australia

This from Macho:

August 1990. Sydney's 1st Bungie jump operation opened at Birkenhead Point and lasted less than a month before the Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr. Fahey, banned the sport in NSW. He ordered the ban after a former Miss Australia, Miss Natalie Curry, broke her collarbone when she hit the bottom of the harbour during a promotional jump. She is a permanent handicapped now. Bungie jump is a highly dangerious pastime and not one I would personally encourage, Mr. Fahey told. If anyone wants to indulge in a terminal pastime, they would be better off going into politics. Bungie operation no longer banned in NSW(Sydney) until 1997.

Investigation: master didn't calculated a jumper's weight and elastic cord length, also depth of the bottom. Anyway I have met ex-master was working as butcher at a local butcher shop in Sydney 1992.


Bad Day

This from Macho:

14th. May 1996. 2 fatal accidents same day in Korea 11am. Kunkook-Chungju Univ.(approx. 4 hrs from Seoul) campus festival, 35 m crane, airmatt(3m*3m), ankle strip mistied, 35 yrs old unexperienced (no-brain?) operator died to impact smashed his head on asphalt ground during his demo.

5pm. Yongin Univ(approx. 1 hr from Seoul) festival, 35 m crane, airmatt(3m*3m), elastic cord disconnected with a platform & crane, 24 yrs old innocent student(pay jumper) died to impact that falled down on the ground.

Investigation: operated by never experienced club, no knowledge/technic of jump operation, just monkey business.


Tight Tight Tight!

This from Macho:

1 June 1997. Sunway Lagoon Resort(near Kuala Lumpur), Malaysia. During festival, an pacipitant(Indian teenage boy), ankle strip too loosed to his ankle by master so falled down into the water pool after jumped off from 30 m crane platform, but fortunetely the jumper had a shock and minor injuired. And Bungee activities banned by Malay government soon. Operated by 'Bungee Downunder(Gold Coast, QLD, Australia).

Investigation: a jumper's ankle strip too loosed, not fully trained Assie crews and no 2 secured system(never used body harness system). That company had a same accident in QLD 1995.


Jumping Jumpmaster

It's easy to see how this one happened, especially at a busy site. A similar scenario happened when I was working for Northwest Bungee, but our Jumpmaster was doing things right!

A rather nervous jumper was roped up and waiting to jump off the crane. The jumpmaster did the traditional count down and on 1 the jumper leaned forward to do the jump. After looking at the trouser filling drop below he decided it might not be such a cool idea after all. He spun round and grabbed the jumpmaster in an attempt to stop his jump. Sadly the jumpmaster was not attached to the crane (he should of course ALWAYS be attached to the crane before it leaves the ground) He was pulled out along with the jumper who was still attached to the bungee. The Jumper didn't die the Jumpmaster Did.

I heard this off a girl at a party. She said it happened at a site in Greece - how's that for a good reliable source.

Extra Info from: Jos Martin

I will check the jumping jumpmaster story, which is true. However I think the latest case occurred in Japan, though there may be older versions of this one. I will ask Ding (Ding Boston from BERSA) since he first told me the story.

Extra Info from: Collins

jumping jumpmaster is not entirely correct. jumpmaster fell out of cage showing the customer what was going to happen when they reached the top again .he (jumpmaster) was about 15m up & went to the front of the cage to demonstrate how to exit the cage correctly &leaned over the edge &fell to his death on the rocks below.this was an error on behalf of the ground crew who did not do there vital cheeks before letting the cage leave the ground.After that incident the jumpmaster was required to have 2 life lines one at the front of him &one at the back.The one at the front was for ground crew to see was attached to the cage &the back one was for the jumpmasters own reasurance.


Crane Collision

Allegedly this happened at a site near London. I heard about it while working for a club.

There are strict guide lines when operating a crane site. There are certain angles the crane jib should be at and also heights that the cage should be below the crane. Also there's restrictions on how windy it can be before it is unsafe to jump. Some of these factor were wrong when a jumper was on the rebound after her first drop and she hit the jib of the crane. She didn't die, just cracked her head open. ( I guess hanging upside down isn't the best way to be when you have a hole in your head!)


Television Tragedy

This happened years and years ago when bungee was still quite a new sport. It's quite a well documented story, but I can't seem to find any so I am recalling it from memory.

It was on Noel Edmonds British TV show (with Mike Smith) They used to arrange dangerous stunts for people from the audience to participate in. One volunteer was chosen to do a bungee. I have heard two versions of this story and would like to know which is true. Sadly they both have the same gruesome outcome. Version 1 is that the rope was not attached and the guy plummeted to meet the reaper. The second is that there was a fault with the way the crane was attached to the cage and this failed. I image there would be a higher death rate for the second story.

Extra Info from: Jos Martin

Though strictly a bungee disaster, there were no jumpmasters of any sort on the site. The BBC decided that they knew better than everyone and got their stunt co-ordinator on the case. The failure was actually a Carabina which wasn't backed up. Again Ding will have far more information on this one.

Even more Extra Info from: Joss Gower

Mike Lush the Bungee jumper had no prior exp. in Bungee jumping, also the BBC never called in a Stunt Co-ordinator, they in fact called in an escapologist to rig the jump!! Mike Lush was also to clip himself on (and forgot) and just to top it all off there was no airbag!!!


Police Stop!

Heard from someone (I don't remember who)

A Policeman jumping for charity from a bridge died when the crew forgot to attach one end to the bridge.


Lucky it wasn't the fat bloke!

I actually saw this one happen, but before you get excited about squished people the only casualty in this story was a sandbag!

It happened when I was working for Northwest Bungee, we had a great site for the day set up over a lake in deepest Southport (UK). Things were going well and we were even getting a few free jumps here and there. Then the son of the guy who owned the lake wanted to jump. This guy was way too fat for our biggest cord and so our jumpmaster said that we had to put our two thinnest ropes together. So we lashed them together using spare cord strands and it was looking rather nice and as though it would work. Obviously we wanted to test it first (like we did for all the ropes) and so we started to fill our sandbag with enough sand to be slightly heavier than this guy. The sand just fitted in and up went the crane for the first test drop. It was quite a sight to see our jump master and another guy heaving this sack off the crane. You've probably guessed by now, but it didn't quite go according to plan. The attachments on the sandbag couldn't take the wait and the Handles snapped. The bungee shot back up to the crane very fast and there was an almighty splash as the bag hit the lake.

Quite funny on reflection, but it kind of put the crowd off. The fat guy didn't want to jump after that which is quite good, 'cos none of us wanted to try to catch him at the end.


Lights, Camera, Action!

From: Ulf Karlsson - along a similar line to the previous story

I have a to say that we been spared when it comes to accidents, but one time we did a thing for a company and the thing was that we should jump with a girl from one crane and a camera crew should film the jump from another crane.

Everything went well, but when we started to get things together one of the cameramen asked if we could jump with the camera and try to get the ground rush on film. The problem was that the camera was very heavy and if the jumper flipped up on the rebounce he could hurt himself on it, then everybody stopped thinking, the cameramen said what if we strap the camera to the Bungee cord and then drop it from the crane ?????.

We went for some slings and strapped it around the camera then we taped a thick jacket around everything to protect the camera housing and the lenser. We went up in the crane still not thinking and turned the camera on and dropped it out of the platform...... what we didn't think of was that we only had one cord with us and it was to thick for the camera, so when the cord stretched out the handle of the camera broke and the camera CRASHED into the ground and the owner of the camera fell to his knees holding his head and just screamed NOOOOOOO !!!!.

So that's how fast you can spend 650.000 Swedish Krona in 3 seconds ( $82,000 )


The Over extended Cage

From: Jos Martin

Jumpmaster et al go up in the cage to the top ... except that the crane driver forgets to stop winching when they got to the top and the cage goes over the top, tumbles down the crane jib and lands fairly and squarely on the crane drivers cab .. death toll - 4, 3 in cage and driver.


Squishy neck story

From: Jos Martin

This is a catapulting story from not sure though I saw it on a German News program from about 92-93 or so. Lightweight woman is about to be catapulted. The rope gets extended and the jumpmaster gives the signal. Woman is released and guess what? She flys up into the bottom of the cage so hard that she breaks her neck .. not a happy bunny.


Caught on Video

Many people who bungee jump do it as a one off on a special occasion, so it is likely that if an accident did happen then it would be recorded in some form (either photos or video). There is a video available (called 'Faces of Death') which shows various clips of people dying (either by execution or accident). Pretty sick if you ask me, but hey I jump off bridges :-). Anyway I heard that a bungee accident was the first clip on the first video.

Part of me thinks it is good that most accidents are captured on video so that the event can be analysed to see what went wrong and to try and stop it again. Also it is a testimony to the safety (or lawyers) of the majority of clubs that there aren't many bungee jumping accident videos in the news.

Extra Info From: Justin Friedman

In response to the Caught on Video entry. I actually saw this episode of Faces of Death. There were, I think 4 people at the top of a building (two guys and two girls). They decided to celebrate something, I think that it was graduation. They constructed the bungee cord secured it to both the building and the guy. They wanted to make the cord long enough so they could touch the ground. They figured that each floor was about 10 feet and they got off at the top floor which, was something like 17 or so. The guy jumped and hit the ground. They forgot that the building doesn't have a 13th floor and thus the cord was about 10 feet too long.

As in many stupid accidents, alcohol was a big factor in the screw up.

Extra Info From: Jos Martin

There are several other death stories that I have seen on video where it looks like equipment was the cause though it is hard to tell whether it was because a person didn't do the rigging correctly.


Non-fatal accidents at the '94 Extreme Games

From: Jos Martin

Also there were some non-fatal accidents at the inaugural extreme games in Rhode Island 1994. The most worrying was when everyones weight was in pounds and the Americans are wont to do. Someone read a weight of 155 pounds as 115 and put the jumper on the wrong rope. He jumped and landed up to his waist in very shitty water .. fortunately we weren't jumping over solid ground.


Hackett Hazards

From: Guy Coates

I'm not sure whether you've heard about the accident at A.J. Hackett's site in New Zealand recently (some time between Christmas and New year 1996). A jumper from Cheshire got very badly injured when the rope came disattached during the second bounce. The guy got dunked in the river and escaped with a punctured lung and a few cracked limbs.

According to Ding Boston, who's spoken to the jumper, the carabina at the top of the rope was not done up and became dis-attatched mid-jump. I expect there will be a fair bit of mud-slinging riding on the back of this one....

From: Arwin Waalkens

Just recently in the 7am news bulletin was the second disaster from A.J. Hackett's Skippers bridge in Queenstown within a month. A 20 year old Canadian girl got badly injured as the rope became disattached at the second rebounce, like the accident in the end of 1996. It was said that the girl suffered major back and neck injuries but did survive the ropeless jump.

Days later both Hackett's bridges were opened again, with better attachments between rope and jumper, they say.


SuperBowl Tragedy

From: Christiano Gontijo

NEW ORLEANS, Jan 26 (Reuter) - The Super Bowl XXXI halftime show on Sunday will include a tribute to the performer who was killed while rehearsing a bungee-jumping stunt at the Louisiana Superdome, the NFL said.

Laura Patterson, 43, a former circus performer, suffered fatal head injuries Thursday night while rehearsing as a member of a 16-person bungee-jumping team that was to be featured in the finale of the half-time show.

The bungee-jumping portion of the show was canceled by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. Instead, Patterson's picture and name will appear on the Superdome scoreboard at the conclusion of the halftime show, the league announced Sunday.

The entire cast and crew for the halftime show will wear white ribbons over their hearts during the performance in memory of Patterson.

New Orleans police said the accident appeared to have been caused when volunteers assisting with the rigging let out too much slack or otherwise mishandled the ropes, the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper reported Sunday.

Patterson, who had successfully performed the stunt in an earlier rehearsal Thursday, smashed head first onto the field at about the 50-yard line. The medical examiner said she died instantly.


New Site Tragedy

From: bOaZ
Taken from Cross Adventures Online

No details as for exact cause of death, though:

Cross Adventure Online is dedicated to my dear friend Gary Neideffer who died from a tragic bungy accident in Cancun, Mexico on March 2nd 1996. The accident happened during a test jump on a new bungy system. When testing new structures and systems there is always a greater degree of risk. Gary understood this and would always put his life on the line ahead of others. That was to be his last jump.

Gary had over 1000 jumps and 7 years bungy experience, was well known and respected in the industry and has been estimated to have jumped more people than anyone else in the US. Amongst companies he worked for were Primal Instinct, Squaw Valley; Bungy Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, California; Baja Bungy, Cabo San Lucas, Baja, Mexico; and then the last place he worked at Cancun Bungee, Cancun, Mexico.


Backup Failure

From: Cary A. Powers

This is about a death that occurred in Porta Rico. The cord broke on the first rebound, the backup line was reported to be 6 feet too long and the participant hit the ground and died.

Cable Snap

From: a source who prefers to remain nameless

The accident occurred in a site on Guam where the crane was allegedly not well maintained. After a successful jump, the cable snapped, sending the basket and jump master plunging into the river below. The jumper was already down and escaped uninjured. Unfortunately the jump master was strapped in and knocked out by the fall. All of the people at the site tried to jump in and free him but the water was too deep and he drowned. The site was shut down and I believe that OSHA was investigating the cause of the accident.

More Info from Jeremy Davis

I don't know if it's of any worth to you, but I worked at the Bungee Jump Int'l site in Guam for about two years... As to the maintenance of the tower crane, I have to put my two cents worth -- the crane wasn't maintenanced AT ALL, due to a contractual dispute between Denmark based Bungee Jump Int'l and the crane company, who set up the crane. The crane was an old, aging Italian tower crane. The structure was rusting away, the cable was subject to dynamic load after dynamic load, due to the cable not wrapping properly on it's spool -- and free falling 2-3 ft on the way up. I rode up that basket many, many times, and the basket would drop, shaking the whole structure and scaring the shit out of me time after time... This, coupled with ZERO maintenance, is what caused the cable to fail. The head guys there, and in Denmark, knew of the problem but ignored it. The guy that died, a Kiwi, was brand new to the site. I remember one day I got fed up with the cage dropping and refused to go back up -- the Kiwi, who was new, took my place after I backed off. After I left Guam, he died in the plunge, and I was not surprised. jI remember warning him, but of course I wish I had done more to discourage him away from that site. He was a really nice quiet guy.

I was hoping that you could warn people somewhere on your site about the dangers of dynamic load on cables, also stress the proper maintenance of platforms...


Balloon Basket Blunder

From: David Halterman

This story was heard on the radio. I would guess this incident to have taken place in 1995. Three men decided to go bungee jumping over the skies of Illinois. The three men took a hot air balloon up to jump. On the first and only jump, the basket tore completely off the balloon!! All three fell to their deaths. I believe that they were dead before impact!!


Old Cords?

From: Yolanda Valencia

This incident happened in San Juan, Puerto Rico about two weeks ago (I got her email Apr 8 1997). A 17-year old kid was killed when the bungee rope broke. Apparently when he jumped, the elastic part of the cord broke and the inner rope was too long to prevent him from hitting the ground. The bungee owner and operator argued that the rope was good for 1000 jumps and they were still on the 700 something jump. The rope was rated for up to 250 lbs, the "kid" weighed 210 lbs. The accident is being investigated and everybody is being sued. Even if their record keeping was good, one wonders how accurate the tests made on these ropes really are.

From: Mike Hon

They had a their crane site set up in Puerta Rico. They were using cords that had exceeded the maximum alloted hours of UV exposure along with the method of storage (hanging the cords on the basket 60 feet in the air in the 90 degree weather all day). Well it was only a matter of time before they gave out and sure enough they killed some kid and since it was in Puerta Rico nobody in the states heard anything about it. The worst part about the whole thing is they are still operating at state fairs and claiming the whole thing never happened. I hope that someone else can verify this story and the truth can be told.


Double Trouble

From: Dylan Griffiths

Every year we have a sort of exhibition or carnival sort of thing called the Rand Easter Show which includes rides and shops and exhibitions of fancy gadgets and other big rich things like boats and motor bikes that people come and drool over. Anyway its big and thousands come every year. But heh what's a show without bungee jumping.

This particular jump wasn't very high (compared to other jumps) and was from a crane. The drop was onto tarmac ,thats right no cushioning ,no water, tarmac. Two siblings from the age of 10 to 16 wanted to jump and also wanted to go together on the same jump but together they were too heavy. As they jumped the cord stretched too far and they both hit the tarmac. Unfortunately they didn't die because they both have to live the rest of their lives on a life support machine because they are both so brain damaged that they are practically flesh lying on a hospital bed.

I might be wrong about something, It could be that one of them died and the other one is brain damaged I'm not sure ,but still I think the co-ordinators of the jump should have woken up to the fact that they were both too heavy.


First Accident?

From: Janice Hemi-Williams

The first person to ever die from a bungy jump was in New Zealand on February 10th, 1990. He was Thomas Wayne Hemi, and only 19 years of age. The "Jump Master" was all of 21, but had held over 2000 jumps.

Thomas died as a result of not being hooked up properly, the jump master had been smoking cannabis at the top with his assistance, Thomas and a friend had flipped a coin to see who would jump first. Thomas won.

The jump master did not attach the correct cord to him and hooked it over a nail. Thomas fell to his death.

Tommy did not die instantly but survived for 20 minutes after the jump, just long enough for his family, to say goodbye to him before he passed away.

More from: John Hackett (not related to AJ Hackett)

As for a disaster, we had the only fatality in NZ about 8 years ago at a fun park. It wasn't linked to AJ Hackett in any way. In that instance the jump master had had too much of the wacky backy and simply forgot to securely tie on the end of the cord to the jumper's feet. Result: death, and the jump master up on a manslaughter charge.


Check those cords!

From: Kristian Voigt

A little story from Denmark - well the accident occured in Norway, Oslo I believe. It was on the danish television a couple of years ago. The jumper went off and we saw the the cord wasn't attached to the crane. Luckily for the jumper he was jumping into the habour and survied.


More cord confusion!

From: Macho

ZURICH (Reuters: Monday, May 15, 2000) - A Swiss outdoor adventure company has halted operations after an American died in a bungee jumping outing it organized over the weekend -- the second fatal accident linked to the company in less than a year. Adventure World owner Georg Hoedle said the company had suspended all ctivity while police probed why the 22-year-old American hit the ground at full speed Saturday when jumping from a cable car near the Schilthorn peak in central Switzerland. "We don't know much. The authorities are still investigating the circumstances," Hoedle told the Sonntags Zeitung Sunday newspaper.

He declined to comment on speculation the jumper might have been using an elastic rope that was too long for the 100-meter (yard) plunge from a cable car suspended over a parking lot. He acknowledged the cable car was carrying two ropes -- one for the 100-meter jump and other for an 180-meter jump. But he said they were different colors and clearly marked to prevent mixing them up.

Adventure World also organized a disastrous whitewater canyoning expedition last July in which 21 people drowned. A flash flood surprised the victims as they made their way down a narrow gorge near Interlaken in the Bernese Alps. Prosecutors are still weighing whether to charge company officials with criminal negligence for the deaths.

Hoedle said he could not explain why the company had been linked to two such tragedies in such a short time. "We went over our safety guidelines painstakingly after the Saxetenbach (canyoning) accident. Every staff member is safety conscious right down to his fingertips. And now this. I cannot imagine it. It is crazy."

Comments: always safety first & check triple times.