Tourist survives 365-foot plunge when bungee cord snaps
Laura Bly, USA TODAY
Any adventurous vacationer who's considering taking a leap of faith on a bungee jump might want to consider the gut-wrenching experience (see video above) of 22-year-old Erin Langworthy, an Australian tourist who fell from the Victoria Falls Bridge over Africa's Zambezi River to the crocodile-infested, rapids-strewn waters below on Dec. 31. Langworthy told Nine Network television that she blacked out briefly after the bungee cord broke and she hit the river on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The stretch of the Zambezi below Victoria Falls is so intimidating that its one-day rafting trips are touted as the world's most challenging.
"You get sucked under and then you pop up so it's very disorienting -- I didn't know which was up or down," said Langworthy, who was still attached to a trailing cord by the ankles. She said the broken cord repeatedly snagged, so she "had to swim down and yank the bungee cord out of whatever it was caught on to make it to the surface."
"Luckily we had been rafting, so I remembered some of the safety tips," she told ABC's Good Morning America on Monday.
After reaching the Zimbabwe bank of the river, Langworthy was evacuated to a hospital in South Africa with cuts, bruises, and a broken collar bone.
Officials say more than 150,000 adrenaline addicts have safely taken the $120-per-person plunge at Victoria Falls since bungee jumps started there 17 years ago. (I considered it during my own Victoria Falls trip, but opted for rafting after reading several cautionary tales about wrenched knees and detached retinas.)
The most miraculous part of this incident, however, was the statement of the company that operates the bungee cord suicide leap that insisted it stands behind the safety of its bungee cords. Talk about disconnect.
As for Langworthy? She told Good Morning America she'd consider a repeat performance - but not anytime soon.