Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Australian tourist survives after bungee cord breaks at Vic Falls

Victoria Falls: The exact reason for the chord failure is as yet unknown and we do not want to speculate until the reviewed by the independent auditors and sent for forensic analysis.
Questions are being raised as to who is to blame for an accident that could have claimed the life of Erin Langworthy, who wanted to usher in 2012 with an adrenaline rush at Vic Falls, but she got far more than she bargained for after her bungee cord snapped on the way down.
The 22-year-old Australian was on holiday on New Year’s Eve when she took the 111-metre bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge above the river, plunging her head-first into the raging crocodile-infested waters of the Zambezi River.
But it all went horribly wrong when the cord snapped about halfway into the jump. The terrifying moment was caught on video and Langworthy is seen hitting the water with her feet still tied before being swept towards rapids, AFP reported.

The young woman from Perth today described her miracle escape in an interview with Australia’s Channel Nine.
“It went black straight away and I felt like I’d been slapped all over. As I went deeper, the water got colder and it must have snapped me out of it.”
Langworthy said she had been white water rafting the previous day and remembered some of the safety tips to get through the looming rapids.
“The water was going quite quickly and then I started to hear the roaring,” she said. ”It’s like being in waves, you get sucked under and then you pop up so it’s very disorienting, I didn’t know which was up or down.”
She managed to swim to the Zimbabwe side of the river, where she hauled herself out.
“It was quite scary because a couple of times the rope actually got caught on some rocks or debris,” she said. ”I actually had to swim down and yank the bungee cord out of whatever it was caught on to make it to the surface.”
Langworthy suffered a fractured collar bone as well as massive bruising in the accident and was taken to South Africa for treatment.
“Yes, I think it’s definitely a miracle that I survived,” she told the broadcaster.
The Lusaka Times quoted Zambian Tourism Minister Given Lubinda as assuring tourists the bungee jumping equipment was safe, despite the incident.
“The bungee has proven to be a very viable operation considering that more than 50 000 tourists jump on it every year,” he said. ”It has been in operation for 10 years. This is the first time I am hearing of an incident. The probability of an incident is one in 500 000 jumps.”
Some have blamed the booking agent, Safari Par Excellence, but the company has claimed it is not the bungee operator.
Victoria Falls Bungee released a statement on 6 January which read, “The exact reason for the chord failure is as yet unknown and we do not want to speculate until the reviewed by the independent auditors and sent for forensic analysis. We take this exceptionally seriously and our objective now is to learn from this incident and review every component part of our operation to determine where we can further minimize the risk of bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge.”
The company said it had removed all bungee cords from the system, which were made with the same batch of rubber as that used to make the failed cord. These have been retained for further testing.
It added that an entirely new set of bungee cords have been installed on the system. These have been extensively load tested and inspected thoroughly and we are satisfied that they are safe to jump on.
“The broken cord has been carefully stored and will shortly be sent to South Africa for forensic testing. The entire bungee system has been thoroughly inspected and checked and we are fully confident that everything is safe to jump on.”