A man was left dangling in mid-air for more than an hour during a bungee jump that went terribly awry at Macau Tower Mondayfor reasons that were not immediately known.
According to a Fire Services Bureau (CB) spokesman, the bureau received a call about a man who was dangling in mid-air at Macau Tower at 2:40 p.m. Monday. The bureau sent a total of eight fire engines including an aerial ladder fire engine with a 75-metre ladder for the rescue.
About three dozen firefighters and several medical staff were involved in the rescue operation.
The spokesman identified the man as a Chinese-Russian in his thirties.
He said that due to the huge size of the rescue vehicles, it took quite some time to clear the way before they could enter the scene.
The aerial ladder was deployed so that the firefighters could reach the man who was suspended about 55 metres from the ground, and managed to reach the man and cut the cord connecting the guide cables. He was eventually lowered to the ground by a bungee jump crew before 4 p.m.
According to the spokesman, the man was conscious and told his rescuers that his legs had gone numb.
The mercury had plunged to 8 degrees Celsius while the man was suspended in mid-air.
The CB spokesman said that the jumper had a low body temperature at the time he was rescued, because of which he was speedily transferred by ambulance to a local hospital to undergo treatment for slight hypothermia.
The spokesman said it was believed that the incident happened due to a malfunction causing the bungee cord to jam.
It was not immediately clear whether Macau Tower would halt the operation of the 233-metre bungee jump after the incident.
AJ Hacket, the jumps’ operator, prefers the spelling “bungy”. It charges 3,988 patacas for a “full” jump. The company’s slogan is “Start living your life fearlessly”.
The AJ Hackett Macau Tower Bungy Jump boasts a 233m high bungee jump and holds the Guinness World Record for the Highest Commercial Bungee Jump in the world.
According to Macau Tower’s website, AJ Hacket developed a “second generation bungee cord” which “is larger at the top than the bottom and allows jumper weights to be evenly dispersed over the entire length of the cord when jumping from such a height.” A “guide cables system” aims to protect jumpers from the tower. Jumpers are supposed to slow down some 30 metres above ground and then rebound.
A Macau Tower statement cited a preliminary investigation by AJ Hacket according to which the man had been left suspended owing to the activation of a safety system. The statement said that the cold weather may have activated the system, adding that AJ Hacket was still investigating the cause of the incident.
The Macau Tower bungee jumps have grown into one of the city’s top tourist attractions since their launch in 2006. Incidents like yesterday’s are understood to have been rare.