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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Fatal bungee jump equipment seized
Site of bungee jump
Police believe the harness snapped
Equipment used in a fatal bungee jump at a Bank Holiday fundraising event in south Wales has been seized by police.

Officers in Swansea believe 22-year-old Christopher Thomas' safety harness may have snapped moments after he leapt from a 180ft-high crane.

Mr Thomas - one of the organisers of the hospital charity event - had initially appeared nervous about making the jump.

Eyewitnesses said soon after the elastic cord holding his feet to the structure appeared to snap and he fell about 60 feet to the ground.

He was critically injured and later died from head and spinal injuries in the very unit of nearby Morriston Hospital that he had been raising money for.


Something obviously went wrong and he fell from quite a height onto the ground

Pub landlady Diane Connor
Hundreds of onlookers watched on as the man fell to the ground in the car park of the Old Barn Inn and Restaurant at Mynydd Gelliwastad in Swansea.

The company which organised the jump, Freefall Bungee Wales, has a good safety record.

But Swansea Council said on Tuesday that no licences are required to operate bungee jumps and all issues relating to health and safety rest with the service provider.

It also emerged that there is a code of practice by which most bungee operators abide, but there is no legislation requiring operators to follow the code.

A spokesman for South Wales Police said it was still unclear what caused the man to fall but all the equipment involved in the accident had been taken away to see if it was faulty.

Meanwhile, the area around the pub remains sealed off on Tuesday as police and health and safety officers continued investigations.

Bungee jumper
The sport has become popular in the last decade

Several people were seen making the jump without any problems before Mr Thomas.

It is understood that Mr Thomas from Cardiff, was a last-minute addition to the series of jumpers.

Pub landlady Diane Connor said: "The man was not the first to go - at least 10 had gone before him.

jump sign
The event was organised to raise funds

"But something obviously went wrong and he fell from quite a height onto the ground.

"There were hundreds of people here. It was a family day and there were a lot of children running around. Everyone was shocked and upset."

Bungee jumping first became popular in the UK in 1990, having previously been popular in Australia and New Zealand.

It is banned in some countries and some states of the USA.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales' Rebecca John
"What was meant to be a fun bank holiday went horribly wrong."

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

20 Jul 01 | Media reports
09 May 02 | England
05 Jul 99 | e-cyclopedia
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