THIS VIDEO taken in Zambia on Dec 31, 2011 doesn’t need any words from me. It speaks for itself.
In a recent post from The Guardian’s Experience section, Erin Langworthy recounts what happened:
I later found out I’d fallen for four seconds after the rope snapped: a distance of up to 40m. If I had been over land, I’d have been dead. Luckily, it had rained the day before, so the river was turbulent and full. That morning, I had seen crocodiles in the water, but I couldn’t think about that. I was struggling in the fast-flowing rapids, because my ankles were still tied together. The bungee cord had snapped near the top, so I still had about 30m attached to me, which kept getting caught. I was pulled downriver and underwater into whirlpools. At one point, the cord snagged below me and I was trapped below the surface. As I was running out of air and my vision started to fade, I managed to dive back down, grab the rope and pull it free. Eventually I managed to wedge my arm between two slimy rocks near the side of the river. All I thought about was clinging on.
I now know I was in the water for 40 minutes. The first guy to reach me was from the bungee company. He grabbed my harness and got me straight out of the water, giving me his shirt because I was shivering. I was worried that he didn’t have first aid training, so I got into the recovery position. Then I started throwing up water from my lungs. My body was purple with bruises from the impact. I started coughing up blood and began to worry about internal injuries. I felt exhausted and struggled to process what had happened.
I jumped at 5.30pm and didn’t get to hospital in Victoria Falls until 11pm. The paramedics got lost, and because I’d ended up on the Zimbabwean side of the river without a passport, I was essentially an illegal immigrant. I was put on a ventilator, and needed an ultrasound and to see a lung specialist. They gave me a large dose of antibiotics – the doctors were worried about how much dirty water I had ingested. X-rays showed no broken bones, but my lungs had partially collapsed. The guys from the bungee company visited me in hospital. They were very apologetic and astounded I’d survived. Facilities were basic, so I had to be flown to South Africa. Friends I’d met travelling got me my belongings and passport, so I could travel. Two weeks later, I went home.
Like any extreme activity, there are inherent risks involved. Hell, crossing the street is risky. So this is definitely not meant to scare anyone off doing this kind of activity. But sheesh! Hard to erase that imagery from your mind. Happy and safe adventuring everyone.