Top 10 Bungee Jumping Accidents in the World
We call them ‘thrill-seekers’. They are those adventurers who defy their basic fears and gravity by jumping off high platforms while only being attached by an elastic cord. It sounds brave, doesn’t it? But what if you found out that bungee jumping is a sport that involves several severe risks, the worse of which being breaking the spine or even death? Is that a price worth paying for just a few moments of adrenaline rush?
Official statistics on the risks and accident occurrence in this activity have not been made yet. Until they are, mind the risks and take all the necessary precautions if you do want to play with faith. Indeed, the incidence of such accidents is lower compared to the number of successful jumps. However, sometimes, things don’t go as well as expected.
Here are the top 10 bungee jumping accidents that happened across the world.
1. Instructor’s Poor English Leads to a Girl’s Death in Spain
It happened on August 2015, in Cabezon de la Sal, in the Cantabria province, Northern Spain. Vera Mol, aged 17, misunderstood the instructor’s instructions and jumped off a bridge without the elastic bungee cord being properly secured. As a result, the Dutch teenager tragically passed away.
Apparently, the instructor told her “No jump, it’s important, no jump”, but she understood ‘Now jump’. The instructor’s English was so bad that young Vera misinterpreted his message and had sadly performed the jump before the cord being correctly secured.
Later on, in 2017, a Spanish court found that the operator – Aqua 21 Aventura – did not hold a license for organizing bungee jumps from the bridge. Moreover, the operator was found liable because it failed to find out if Vera was underage and didn’t obtain her parent’s approval to perform the jump.
At the same time, the court declared that the instructor should have been better and he should have said “Don’t jump” to eliminate such a fatal misunderstanding. The instructor, whose name was not made public, acknowledged that he only basically spoke English.
2. Couple Killed in Extreme Bungee Jump in Georgia
It was July 2012. In Tbilisi, Georgia, two young people who formed a couple, unfortunately, passed away after performing a bungee jump at the same time from the University’s Maghlivi Bridge, in Tbilisi, Georgia. The height of this bridge is 42 meters (137.79 ft.).
The woman, named Mariam Kandashvili, aged 23, and the man, Goga Goletiani, aged 25, jumped while hugging and it was supposed to be a couple’s jump. However, things went horribly wrong for both of them. Mariam died right on the spot, while Goga passed away at a local hospital that night.
The reason for their accident is not clear. It seems that either the ropes they were attached to broke, or that they somehow escaped the attachment. The nature of the ropes they were attached to is questionable, as well. Apparently, they were climber’s ropes, and not a bungee jumping cord.
3. Man With Broken Spine After a Bungee Jump in Poland
In July 2019, a man – whose name was not disclosed – jumped from a 330 ft. bungee jumping platform in Gdynia, a city and a seaport in Poland. Unfortunately, the harness that attached the man to the elastic cord slid off or maybe snapped.
At this point, the 39-year-old man broke his spine and suffered several organ injuries. After being taken quickly to a hospital, he was reported to be set up an orthopedic collar and he was able to move. Luckily for him, the jump was not fatal.
The operator of the bungee jump, a company called Bungeeclub, declared in a Facebook post that “the most important thing is that the health of the participant of the unfortunate jump is in no serious danger” and that the jumped organized by it were performed by trained and experienced instructors “in accordance with all procedures”.
The local police was investigating the reasons for the incident.
4. British Student Dies While Bungee Jumping in Spain
In July 2015, another tragedy would happen in Spain. This time, near the Lanjaron village, Granada. Kleyo de Abreu, aged 23, instantly died after bungee jumping from a bridge. While she was in the air, she smashed against an ancient bridge above the river under it.
Mrs. Kleyo was watched by her terrified aunt as she dangled from the rope after passing away. The young woman was attempting her second jump that day. Rescuers came on the scene around 25 minutes later only to pronounce her dead.
The student was visiting her aunt in Spain for several days when they decided to visit the bungee jumping site.
Apparently, the reason for this unnecessary tragedy was a miscalculation of the bungee rope.
5. Young Woman Falls Into Crocodile-Infested Water in Victoria Falls
It was the New Year’s Eve, 2012. Young Australian girl named Erin Langworthy performed a bungee jump from a bridge over the Zambezi river at Victoria Falls, in Zambia. “I was 22 and wanted a big adventure after university”, she declared later on.
But this jump, too, is one of the worse bungee jumps in the world. A few seconds after she had jumped from the bridge, she felt a shock across her chest. Her bungee jumping cord had snapped. Her fall ended up in the river below, which was full of crocodiles.
Mrs. Langworthy fell 40 meters (131.23 ft.) after the cord broke and then she instinctively brought her arms together upward. This move was what saved her life, since the arms stopped the water from hitting her head.
“My lungs were on fire and I was struggling to breathe”, she went on in her statement for The Guardian. Her legs were tied, so she was struggling to keep her head above the water. After 40 minutes, she managed to cling on some rocks and an employee of the bungee jumping company was able to come to her and helped her come out of the water.
She was coughing blood and her entire body was covered in bruises. In a short while, she was taken to a local hospital, where she was put on a ventilator and the doctors established that her lungs had collapsed.
Lucky Mrs. Langworthy lives to this day to tell her story. She also declared that even the bungee jumping instructors were astonished that she had been able to survive.
It seems that the reason for her accident was a simple “wear and tear” of the bungee jumping rope, since there were some 50,000 individuals who performed bungee jumping from that bridge each year. Measures were taken so that this type of incident doesn’t occur again, although it was not specified exactly what these measures consisted of.
6. British Man Suffers Severe Injuries After a Bungee Jump in Thailand
In July 2009, young Cambridge graduate Rishi Baveja from the U.K. attempted a bungee jump from a platform above a lagoon in Thailand. However, after he reached the maximum length of the cord, the harness from his feet detached and he fell freely in the water below at a speed of 80 mph (130 kph).
Mr. Baveja, who is a UK politician’s son, was able to dive into the water with his chest first, which avoided fatal head injuries. He managed to survive, however, suffered major injuries that were similar to those of a car crash: a ruptured spleen, collapsed lungs, torn liver and bruises all over his body.
The young man was hospitalized for a month before he was allowed by the doctors to get back home in West Yorkshire, UK. Apparently, his Phuket holiday didn’t go as planned.
The owner of the bungee jumping operator called Jungle Bungee Jump, declared to The Guardian that it had been the first accident the company had registered in 17 years. He went on saying that the British man had not followed the instructions and that he had jumped with his feet first, which caused him to panic and kick his cord harness away.
The owner of Jungle Bungee Jump also stated that the company bought a new harness that wouldn’t allow anyone to get injured again.
7. Woman Dies and Her Boyfriend Is Severely Injured in a Bungee Jump in France
It was June 2015. In Audincthun, near St. Omer, in France, a couple formed by a 28-year old woman and her male partner bungee jumped from a crane that was 65 meters (213.23 ft.) high.
They went on the crane top to perform a bungee jump. However, there was a malfunction in the system that was supposed to attach them to the cord. They wanted to do a tandem jump.
After they jumped, about 15 meters (49.21 ft.) above the soil, they both smashed heavily on the ground. The woman, whose name was not disclosed, died immediately and her boyfriend was taken to a local hospital. There, doctors declared he was in a critical condition.
It is one of the rare cases when the bungee jumping operator managers were arrested by the police. They were charged with manslaughter. Sebastien Pieve, the French prosecutor, declared to the media that there was an obvious issue with attaching the two lovers to the elastic rope.
The bungee jumping spot was closed by the authorities. It was reported that the respective operator had been organizing jumps there for two years.
8. Man Seriously Injured by Bungee Trampoline While Onboard a Cruise Ship
It is one of the worse bungee jumping accidents ever. It happened on February 2019. The video shows the 22-year old man, named Casey Holladay, while he is attached to the harness of a bungee trampoline while onboard Mariner of the Seas, a vessel that belonged to the Royal Caribbean company.
The ship was heading toward the Bahamas and Casey wanted to have some fun. But, as seen in the video above, the elasticated cords he was attached to snapped and he fell. As a result, the Royal Caribbean stopped the cruise and the young man was transported to a hospital in Miami.
There, doctors declared that he had suffered several fractures to the pelvis and had a dislocated shoulder. Casey had to put up with several surgeries to cure his pelvis and had to use a walker and a wheelchair before undergoing a long and tedious recovery.
Luckily surviving this terrible bungee jumping accident, Casey decided to sue Royal Caribbean for $10,000,000. His lawyer declared to NBC Miami that the staff with this company was not experienced to correctly analyze the safety risks involved with this kind of activity onboard a cruise vessel.
Casey’s attorney went on saying that his client was “severely limited in his everyday activities”.
9. Woman Unconscious After a Bungee Jump in Bolivia
It was in April 2017. A woman whose name was not disclosed went bungee jumping from a 50 ft. high bridge in the Bolivian province Florida. Unfortunately, what happened is that the length of the elastic cord was miscalculated and it didn’t prevent her from falling into the river below.
She fell headfirst into the shallow waters. A witness of the scene declared to The Sun website that she immediately went to the nearest town to send an ambulance. The woman was not able to move and could only open and close her eyes.
The bungee jumping operator, a company called Andean Trek, later on transported the injured woman to a private clinic. Here, it was discovered that she had suffered only some pretty minor traumas, being discharged several days later.
10. Bungee Jumper Stuck in the Air at Low Air Temperature in Macau
In January 2018, a Russian man performed a bungee jump from the Macau Tower, which measures 338 meters (1,109ft.) of height, the place with the best view in Macau. What happened is that he jumped from a platform at 233 meters (764.43 ft.) from the ground.
However, he suddenly realized that he was stuck around 50 to 60 meters (164 – 196 ft.) in the air. The man was dangling there for an hour while the temperature levels dropped to 8 degrees Celsius. After this while, firefighters came on the scene and were able to rescue him.
The fire department representative said that the jumper had presented slight hypothermia signs. He was taken to a local hospital with an ambulance, accompanied by a friend.
The bungee jumping operator, AJ Hackett, found out that the accident happened because a safety system had been on.
Luckily, the man survived.