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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 19:09 GMT
Man 'stable' after bungee stunt
The man attached to the rope on fire
The 22-year-old man is in hospital
A man who set himself alight after bungee-jumping off a bridge in Bristol may face prosecution, say police.

James Marples, 22, from Sheffield, was seen climbing over railings and jumping 245 feet from the Clifton Suspension Bridge on Saturday.

He hung to the end of his climbing rope for 26 seconds after setting himself alight, before dropping into the river below and swimming off.

He told the BBC that it was a thrill-seeking stunt that went horribly wrong, but wanted 1,000 for a full interview.

Mr Marples suffered burns to his arms and face and his condition was described as "stable" on Tuesday.

We are currently seeking advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on the most appropriate action to take
Sgt Steve Kendall
Avon and Somerset Police

One eye-witness told BBC News Online: "He walked up the bridge and clipped himself on.

"After the jump, he set himself alight and then attempted to cut the rope.

"But he hung there for more than 20 seconds before dropping into the water and swimming off."

It is believed that his knife broke, so he had to use a second one to cut the rope.

Mr Marples was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary and later transferred to the specialist burns unit at Frenchay Hospital in the city.

'Dangerous act'

David Kirke, Chairman of The Dangerous Sports Club, told the BBC: "It sounds to me like a copy-cat stunt - a badly-thought out, rushed affair.

"I'm sure his heart is in the right place, but stuntmen usually put on flame-retardant suits."

Sgt Steve Kendall from Avon and Somerset Police said: "We are currently seeking advice from the Crown Prosecution Service on the most appropriate action to take.

"This was a dangerous act which caused many people distress."

A spokesman for the bridge says jumping from it is extremely dangerous and contravenes local by-laws.

The BBC's Imogen Sellers reports
"The pools... are where he douses himself in petrol"

Man hurt in bridge bungee stunt
20 Jan 04  |  Bristol/Somerset

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