An Australian tourist, Tarla Carpenter was left hanging above a chasm after a serious harness failure left her dangling by her armpits at the Nevis Bungy Swing in the Nevis Canyon, Queenstown.
The swing is 160 metres above the canyon floor and riders move at speeds of up to 150kph in a 300 metre arc.
The tourist attraction, run by AJ Hackett, offers thrill seekers a death defying leap over a mind numbing drop. Tarla Carpenter and her boyfriend Matthew Pararta were on vacation in New Zealand when the couple opted for a ride on the bungee swing.
A restraining strap with an empty carabiner, could be seen dangling behind her. It is hard to tell what exactly happened but in the above picture it looks like the webbing seat she was sat on either detached, or slid up her back.
“I think she’s gunna fall!“
The ride started well with Tarla and her partner both seemingly strapped into their harnesses in a seated position. However, after leaving the platform Tarla suddenly slipped through her hardness and the couple swung out over the chasm. She was just inches away from falling 500 feet to the rocky bottom.
“Everything that was around my legs became around my underarms” a traumatised Tarla told reporters from Australian TV show A Current Affair “and it felt just like I’d slipped through like a net almost, and then caught me under my arms”
“Get us up!” shouted Matthew “I think she’s gunna fall!” and by the time the couple came back into sight of the platform she was “barely hanging on. It was a near catastrophic malfunction of her safety equipment” according to the Current Affair reporter.
“I just pretty much hung on for dear life and just gripped on to whatever was in front of me” said a visibly upset Tarla, who has been left with “horror holiday memories”
Tarla said it was a miracle she didn’t fall to the ground and her shocking experience has turned her off bungy jumping forever.
We think Tarla was incredibly lucky to have survived her ordeal and our best wishes go out to her.
Unfortunately, as our regular readers will know, there have been a high number of near misses and fatal accidents in New Zealand’s adventure sports industry, ‘accidents’ that have continued to occur despite new registration requirements.
The new regs, made under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, only came into effect until October 2011 – three and a half years after the drowning death of British tourist Emily Jordan sparked a review of the adventure tourism industry within NZ.
Incredibly there will a a further delay of three years until all 1,5000 adventure tourism businesses must be registered and in possession of a safety audit certificate in New Zealand. How many people will be traumatised, maimed or killed in that time?
We’re very disappointed to see something like this has happened and it makes us question how many other near misses there have been. This one only seems to have come to light because an TV show got hold of the footage. (read Australian Tourist Injured In Bungy Accident, Another Has Collapsed Lung May 2010, to see how wrong things can get)
For background read this article in the Sydney Morning Herald - “Adventure tourism a deadly business” August 24 2010:
Adventure tourists are killing themselves for a good time in New Zealand. So much so that the government is looking at tougher measures to improve safety in the industry.
During five years (July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2009) 39 people died in NZ in what are recorded as workplace activities. But the actual number is likely to be much higher as recreational deaths were not included…” read full article here
There have been several bungy related ‘accidents’ in New Zealand (partial source NZH):
In May 2010 Australian tourist, Kristy Moulder, slipped out of her bungy harness and was seriously injured in the rocky Waiau River.
In 2009 New Zealand university student Catherine Peters died after she fell fell 20 metres from the Ballance Bridge swing in the Manawatu Gorge. Alistair McWhannell was later found guilty of manslaughter. The court was told that bridge swing was dangerous in that “the rope was allegedly too long and not tied off properly.” At the time of her death there were no required safety standards for bridge swinging in New Zealand:
In May 2003, Rotorua woman Jamie Shaw, 19, suffered severe bruising after falling more than 8m into a stream after her foot slipped from the bindings during a tandem bungy in Rotorua.
In September 2000, a Taiwanese tourist, 29, received head injuries after slipping from a harness and falling 25-30m into the Waikato River.
And in 1997, Canadian Nancy Todd, 20, plunged into the Shotover River near Queenstown after part of her bungy detached as she rebounded from a jump in Skippers Canyon.
You may also be interested in our blogs tagged Adventure Tourism deaths and these posts:
The Auckland arrest of billionaire Kim Dotcom, an investor and online piracy facilitator file-sharing host, in his mansion made worldwide news headlines – and cost Kiwi taxpayers at least $70,000. Along with American agents, the New Zealand police had been conducting an investigation into Dotcom’s website Megaupload since August of last year. He and six others were part of a group called the “Mega Conspiracy”, charged with reproducing and illegally distributing “free” copies of proprietary works such as software, films, TV programmes, music and books.
Dotcom was granted New Zealand residency in November 2010, under a scheme whereby he had to invest $10 million in government bonds and pass a test of good character. Despite strict regulations about the sorts of foreigners permitted to take up residency in the Pacific nation – thin people, people with low blood pressure, and the non-handicapped – Mr Dotcom, thought to be an obese diabetic with a slipped disc and hypertension, was welcomed with open arms. The health requirements link under the NZIS investor category information page is a 404. His past criminal convictions, sufficient to refuse him ownership of Kiwi land, were nonetheless glossed over when granting him residency. In 1998 he had been sentenced to two years for handling stolen goods and credit card fraud. In 2001, he was charged with illegal speculations on the stock market and fraudulent misuse of funds. The following year, he was arrested in Thailand and sentenced in Germany for fraudulent misuse of funds. Presumably, there is a statute of limitations for the purposes of evaluation of fitness for residency? Yes, dating from 1950, and it was repealed in January 2011.
Kim’s lifestyle, in a country where according to Darrin Hodgetts, poverty is the biggest growth industry, was conspicuous and even frightening, but no one could accuse him of not spreading the money around: large dollops were tossed merrily to politicians and the New Zealand Government. But it wasn’t actually the New Zealand Lifestyle he was after. Internet security expert Jeffrey Carr has suggested that “New Zealand is under the radar, away from Interpol and a better lifestyle than Eastern Europe.”
Now a father of five, Dotcom was charged this time with five counts of copyright infringement and money laundering, along with other employees of his company and its subsidiaries: Megaporn, Megavideo, Megaclick, and Megarotic. When the police showed up for the bust, at his birthday party no less, he barricaded himself inside his mansion’s safe room with a sawed-off shotgun, which he had purchased for his family’s safety.
His English was undoubtedly good enough to pass; however, investor-category candidates only need an IELTS score of 4 out of 9 to gain residency. It is clear that some immigrants are more equal than others, in a nation that trumpets its lack of corruption as a point of attraction. Russian mining billionaire Abramov, incidentally also a citizen of Cyprus, and roughly a dozen others have become new residents under this category. Kim Dotcom is now out on bail, his order of arrest nullified and voided.
It turns out that John Banks, Auckland Mayor, is alleged to have given the German scofflaw unlicensed immigration advice. But that was not the least of it. Current allegations under investigation suggest that Banks’ mayoral campaign received “donations” in two hefty $25,000 chunks from Dotcom that, along with gambling den Sky City’s, were listed as anonymous. Although Banks has distanced himself from the issue, claiming faulty memory, it is clear there was schmoozing going on. Banks had attended parties at the Dotcom mansion, proposing toasts, and enjoyed personal helicopter taxi services. ACT party leader Banks is small business and regulatory reform minister and an associate minister for the commerce and education portfolios.
What is unclear is where Kim received the inspiration for Welcome To The Good Life, on his first album Bailhouse Rock. The lyrics – “Sleep all day, party all night / have whatever you want, whenever you like” –suggest an esprit that Joe Blogs could never afford to embrace, even if he did like.