Safety Issues of Bungee – An interview with Mr. Bhuwan Sharma, General Manager- The Last Resort

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Is bungee jumping a safe adventure sport? Hmmm…. to be honest, I couldn’t properly make up mind on this! Until, I had a chat with Mr. Bhuwan Sharma, the General Manager of The Last Resort (the only bungee jumping operating company in Nepal).

He, genuinely, answered all my questions related to the safety issues, procedures, quality of equipment and the general idea of bungee itself!

Of course, the statistics showing accidents and near misses here at The Last Resort, further, helped me to come to the conclusion- YES! IT IS SAFE!

In this blog, I have listed some of my queries along with few frequently asked questions on Bungee Jumping and here is what he had to say on the subject.

 Q. Could you tell me the differences between bungee jump and swing? How high/ long is the swing?  Safety procedures?

Bungee is jumping off a high platform with an elastic rope attached to your ankles and waist. You get about 3 seconds of free fall before the rope starts stretching. You bounce off a few times (depends on your weight) until you come to a standstill. Then, few of our staffs lower you down on our recovery platform, take off all the harnesses.

Canyon Swing is jumping of the same platform but with a dynamic rope instead of elastic one. The rope is attached to your full body harness.

You jump feet first with your hands holding the rope that is attached to cables parallel to the bridge, about 100 m in front of the platform.

You get a free fall of about 6 seconds before you start swinging at the speed 150km/ h in an arch of 240 degrees.

Once you come to a standstill, you will be handed a rope which you will need to pull to bring yourself across the river, to a recovery platform. Here, you are unharnessed and let free to go.

Q. What is the weight limit for bungee and swing?

The minimum weight for bungee jumping and swing is 40kgs and the maximum can be 100kgs and 120kgs respectively.

Q. Any age restrictions?

That depends! I mean for below 18s we sure need parents’/ guardians’ presence and approval on site.

Q: How high is the bungee jump?

160 m

Q: Have you ever had any accidents?

No. We’ve never even have had any near misses!

Q. Is bungee business credible and recognized by the government?

Nepal government never had a proper policy to regulate adventure sports in Nepal. These sports included Bungee, Cannoning, Zip flyers, Paragliding, Ballooning and so on.

Now, the good news is that the government is calling for the registration and regulation of all of these sports. This is great news for all of us as safety in any adventures sports is vital for its own survival. We had informed the government regarding the operation of our activities prior to their running.

We have been running since 1999 with fantastic results. We have sold these adventurous dreams to thousands of external and internal tourists without any accidents.

Our bungee masters and crew were trained by international experts and today, they have become an asset for us, which our company is really proud of. To put this into proper prospective, they are the only bungee experts of Nepal.

Q. Do you use a structural engineer? Who?

We have various consultants. We have international as well as local consultants helping us with designing and building various structures at The Last Resort.

However, who is something that is hard to answer. They have changed over the years. But I assure you, they are among the best in the business!

Q. What are the criteria for staff and training design?

We have training procedures and manuals that need to be strictly followed by both Staffs and Applicants. We have a physical and mental aptitude test for applicants before they are even considered.

Q. What are the statistics of accidents, incidents and near misses, among any adventure sport offered by the Resort?

We have never had any issues with our bungee or swing. Having said that, safety of any of these adventure sports should not be taken lightly. Any amount of negligence from the participant or the operator can result in fatal losses.

Q: How long have you and your staffs been doing this?

We have been in operation since the beginning of 1999.

Q. Is this company listed in BERSA? ( under the safety regulations of BERSA)

We are not listed in BERSA. But we do abide by all the safety rules and regulations under it.

 Q: Are there any health risks, should and should not do’s?

These conditions can disqualify anyone; pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart conditions, neurological disorders, epilepsy, asthma, artificial limbs, previous dislocations, recent strains, recent breaks or recent surgery requiring stitches.

Q: How long does bungee take?

About 5 minutes from the time of harnessing to time of un- harnessing.

Q: How much is the cost of a jump?

Rs. 4200 per person and includes a lunch, transport, a jump and all taxes.

Q: What should I wear on the trip?

Whatever is comfortable for you! However, you are required to wear a closed pair of shoes. You need shoes that will cover all your toes.

Q: How can I jump?

You can jump by exerting special force on the platform with the help of your legs and using the legs muscles to spring yourself into the air head first.

Q: Can I touch the water below during my jump?

Absolutely not!! The river below is Bhote Koshi, which is known as one of the wildest rivers in the world. It is not only steep and fast but also has huge rocks that could cause unimaginable damage.

Q: Can I bring a camera with me?

You can bring a camera with you, no problem. However, you will not be allowed to take it on the bridge.

Q: Can I bring my friend with me to watch?

Of course.

Q: Can my friend enroll for the jump on the spot? 

Yes, it is possible. To keep all the jumps and the flow of participants organized; we have the system of advanced booking. However, if anyone makes a decision on the spot and wishes to jump, we can take care of all the formalities at the moment itself.

Now, adding something on my own- Yes, Bungee is an adventure sport and yes, it involves risk but the company operating it, in this case- The Last Resort, works very hard.

They ensure that the participants enjoy to their fullest and at the same time are completely safe.

So, if you want to jump but, have a second thought, ignore it. Make the jump, believe me you won’t repent it!

 

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Safety Issues of Bungee – An interview with Mr. Bhuwan Sharma, General Manager- The Last Resort
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