Video: Bungee Jumping Tourist Survives Plunge at Victoria Falls; Tour Operator Releases Statement

 @MarkJohansonIBT on January 09 2012 10:55 AM
Victoria Falls Bridge
Bungee jumping at Victoria Falls Bridge along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. REUTERS/Peter Andrews

An Australian tourist bungee jumping at Victoria Falls Bridge in Africa had the (mis)adventure of a lifetime as she plunged 365 feet into a river when her cord snapped. Remarkably, she managed to swim to safety through crocodile-infested waters.

Perth native Erin Langworthy, 22, made the leap on New Year's Eve, jumping headfirst into the Zambezi River on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Langworthy told Nine Network television news Sunday that she blacked out briefly when she hit the river, saying I felt like I'd been slapped all over.

The cold water helped bring her back to consciousness.

Video footage of the plunge (below) shows the cord snapping and Langworthy plummeting into the river before the current takes her into the rapids. The cord -- still tied to her legs -- gets caught on rocks as she drifts down water.

Langworthy said she actually had to dive down and yank the bungee cord free.

You get sucked under and then you pop up so it's very disorienting -- I didn't know which was up or down, she said.

The stretch of the Zambezi River below Victoria Falls Bridge is so intimidating that rafting trips to the area are touted as the world's most challenging.

Langworthy was taken to the Victoria Falls clinic in Zimbabwe where she was treated for injuries before being medevaced to South Africa. Doctors said they were amazed that she suffered no major injuries.

Safari Par Excellence, which operates the $120 pure adrenalin excursion, initially released a statement titled Bungee cord breaks but no damage done... claiming the incident was being thoroughly investigated but the site would remain open and operational. An additional statement, released as the story gained further media attention, highlighted the steps the bungee operator would take to ensure the safety of future jumpers.

A minister in Zambia sought to reassure tourists about bungee safety, saying The bungee has proven to be a very viable operation considering that more than 50,000 tourists jump on it every year.

This is the first time I am hearing of an incident, Information Minister Given Lubinda was quoted as saying in a report published on Lusakatimes.com. The probability of an incident is one in 500,000 jumps.

View the dramatic footage of Erin Langworthy's jump below:

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