This is a photo of my family on the Victoria Falls Bridge in December 1999. Barely seen in the gorge 420 feet below is the Zambezi River. The Daughter is managing to smile, despite her parents having refused to let her go whitewater rafting on the river. When she asked why she couldn’t go, we said, well — because of the Class 5 rapids and the crocodiles and the rocks and the rafts flipping and the sheer terror of it, plus sunburn and bee stings.
None of that swayed her. The Husband and I had both done it, and later made the mistake of describing it as “fun” and “a once-in-a lifetime-experience” and “near death,” which only stoked her desire to run the rapids herself. So I think I then said something about the bungee jumpers who were plunging toward the river from the bridge where we were standing, and how you never knew — one of them could hit her. Feel free to imagine the acid in her voice when she said, “What-ever, Mom.” And how her brothers then asked if they could sign up to bungee jump.
Here is a video of Australian tourist Erin Langworthy bungee jumping off that same bridge this week.
See, kids: Mother knows best.
But Langworthy’s miracle escape isn’t the only shocking element of this story.
Patti sends the Grammar Geeks’ Unit a link to the Daily Mail’s breathless coverage of the mishap.
Patti fumes: “I guess it’s actually for the Spelling Geeks’ Tactical Squad, but all I can say is ‘aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh’!”
Bungee jumping while on an adventure holiday is like a right of passage for many young travellers.
But some may think twice after Australian backpacker Erin Langworthy, 22, plunged into the Zambezi River when her chord snapped during a jump at Victoria Falls, in Zambia.
Patti demands to know: “Was it major or minor? Flat key or sharp key? We need to know which one to avoid.”
How about forcing the Daily Mail’s subeditors to face the same ordeal as the bungee jumper if they let such typos through?
Miraculously, the thrill-seeker from Perth survived the plunge into crocodile-infested waters and lived to tell how she managed to battle through the rapids and swim to the Zimbabwean side of the river with her feet still tied together.
Maybe the lesson is: if you’re going to throw yourself off a bridge with only a bunch of rubber bands to keep you from hitting bottom at terminal velocity, at least be sure to do it over a body of water.