An Australian woman whose bungee jumping cord snapped, plunging her head-first into raging crocodile-infested waters in Africa’s Zambezi River, has described her “miracle” survival.
Erin Langworthy (22) was on holiday on New Year’s Eve when she took on the 111m bungee jump from the Victoria Falls bridge above the river, which borders Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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.
“It went black straight away and I felt like I’d been slapped all over,” she told Australia’s Channel Nine in an interview recounting the moment of impact.
“As I went deeper down, the water got colder and it must have snapped me out of it.”
Langworthy, from Perth, 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.” — Sapa-AFP