INTRODUCTION• Bungee jumping is an activity that involves jumping from a tall structure while connected to a large elastic cord. The tall structure is usually a fixed object, such as a building, bridge or crane; but it is also possible to jump from a movable object, such as a hot-air- balloon or helicopter, that has the ability to hover above the ground. The thrill comes from the free-falling and the rebound. When the person jumps, the cord stretches and the jumper flies upwards again as the cord recoils, and continues to oscillate up and down until all the energy is dissipated.
HISTORY• The word "bungee" originates from West Country dialect of English language, meaning "Anything thick and squat", as defined by James Jennings in his book "Observations of Some of the Dialects in The West of England" published 1825. Around 1930, the name became used for a rubber eraser. The word bungy, as used by A J Hackett, is "Kiwi slang for an Elastic Strap". Cloth- covered rubber cords with hooks on the ends have been available for decades under the generic name bungy cords.• In the 1950s, David Attenborough and a BBC film crew brought back footage of the "land divers" of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, young men who jumped from tall wooden platforms with vines tied to their ankles as a test of their courage and passage into manhood. A similar practice, only with a much slower pace for falling, has been practised as the Danza de los Voladores de Papantla or the Papantla flyers of central Mexico, a tradition dating back to the days of the Aztecs.
EQUIPMENT• The elastic rope first used in bungee jumping, and still used by many commercial operators, is factory- produced braided shock cord. This consists of many latex strands enclosed in a tough outer cover. The outer cover may be applied when the latex is pre- stressed, so that the cords resistance to extension is already significant at the cords natural length. This gives a harder, sharper bounce. The braided cover also provides significant durability benefits. Other operators, including A. J. Hackett and most southern- hemisphere operators, use unbraided cords with exposed latex strands. These give a softer, longer bounce and can be home-produced.
IN POPULAR CULTURES• Several major movies have featured naked bungee jumps, most famously the opening sequence of the 1995 where Jordan Wellman performed the highest nude bungee jump ever recorded James Bond film GoldenEye in which Bond makes a jump over the edge of a dam in Russia (in reality the dam is in Switzerland: Verzasca Dam, and the jump was genuine, not an animated special effect). The jump in the dam later makes an appearance as a Roadblock task in the 14th season of the reality competition series The Amazing Race.• It appears in the title of the South Korean film Bungee Jumping of Their Own , although it does not play a large part in the film.• A fictional proto-bungee jump is a plot point in the Michael Chabon novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.• In the film Selena, in which Jennifer Lopez plays Selena Quintanilla- Perez, she is shown bungee jumping at a carnival. This actual event took place shortly before Selenas death in 1995.
VARIATIONS• Catapult• In "Catapult" (Reverse Bungee or Bungee Rocket) the jumper starts on the ground. The jumper is secured and the cord stretched, then released and shooting the jumper up into the air. This is often achieved using either a crane or a hoist attached to a (semi-)perma structure. This simplifies the action of stretching the cord and later lowering the participant to the ground.• Twin Tower• "Twin Tower" is similar with two oblique cords. There are two towers, each with a cord leading the jumper. When the cords are stretched the jumper is released and shoots straight up.• Trampoline• "Bungy Trampoline" uses, as its name suggests, elements from bungy and trampolining. The participant begins on a trampoline and is fitted into a body harness, which is attached via bungy cords to two high poles on either side of the trampoline. As they begin to jump, the bungy cords are tightened, allowing a higher jump than could normally be made from a trampoline alone.
• Running• "Bungee Running" involves no jumping as such. It merely consists of, as the name suggests, running along a track (often inflatable) with a bungee cord attached. One often has a velcro-backed marker that marks how far the runner got before the bungee cord pulled back. This activity can often be found at fairs and carnivals and is often most popular with children.• Ramp• Bungee jumping off a ramp. Two rubber cords - the "bungees" - are tied around the participants waist to a harness. Those bungee cords are linked to steel cables along which they can slide due to stainless pulleys. The participants bicycle, sled or ski before jumping.• Suspended Catch Air Device• SCAD diving is similar to bungee jumping in that participant is dropped from a height, but in this variation there is not a cord, instead the participant falls into a net.
SAFETY• Bungee jumping injuries may be divided into those that occur secondary to equipment mishap or tragic accident, and those that occur regardless of safety measures. In the first instance, injury can happen if the safety harness fails, the cord elasticity is miscalculated, or the cord is not properly connected to the jump platform. In 1986Michael Lush died of multiple injuries after bungee jumping for a stunt on a BBC television programme and in 1997, Laura Patterson, one of a 16-member professional bungee jumping team, died of massive cranial trauma when she jumped from the top level of the Louisiana Superdome and collided head-first into the concrete-based playing field. She was practicing for an exhibition intended to be performed during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXI. In 2002 Chris Thomas died after his harness tore off during a charity jump in Swansea, Wales: it was later claimed that the harness was not safe for his weight. On New Years Eve 2011, Erin Langworthy, an Australian woman was plunged into the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls, where she nearly drowned with her feet still tied together after her bungee rope snapped during a jump.
POSSIBLE INJURIES• Injuries that occur despite safety measures generally relate to the abrupt rise in upper body intravascular pressure during bungee cord recoil. Eyesight damage is the most frequently reported complication. Impaired eyesight secondary to retinal haemorrhage may be transient or take several weeks to resolve. In one case, a 26 year old womans eyesight was still impaired after 7 months. Whiplash injuries may occur as the jumper is jolted on the bungee cord and in at least one case, this has led to quadriplegia secondary to a broken neck. Very serious injury can also occur if the jumpers neck or body gets entangled in the cord. More recently, carotid artery dissection leading to a type of stroke after bungee jumping has also been described. All of these injuries have occurred in fit and healthy people in their twenties and thirties. Bungee jumping has also been shown to increase stress and decrease immune function.
THE HIGHEST JUMP• In August 2005, AJ Hackett added a SkyJump to the Macau Tower, making it the worlds highest jump at 233 metres (764 ft). The SkyJump did not qualify as the worlds highest bungee as it is not strictly speaking a bungee jump, but instead what is referred to as a Decelerator-Descent jump, using a steel cable and decelerator system, rather than an elastic rope. On 17 December 2006, The Macau Tower started operating a proper bungee jump, which became the "Highest Commercial Bungee Jump In The World" according to the Guinness Book of Records. The Macau Tower Bungy has a "Guide cable" system that limits swing (the jump is very close to the structure of the tower itself) but does not have any effect on the speed of descent, so this still qualifies the jump for the World Record.