M.T. Shiva Kumar

Lack of experts on the sport stymies investigation

Bangalore: The elastic rope on which 25-year-old V. Bhargava so tragically reposed his faith was old and had done its time, The Hindu has learnt. The bungee cord and other safety equipment used by the organisers were not fit for use.

The marine engineer from Chennai who is the first reported casualty of the sport in the city, died when the harness gave away while he attempted reverse bungee jumping on Saturday.

A senior police officer familiar with the investigation said: “Though the rope was imported, it was used more than 500 times. As per the safety norms, the cords should be discarded within six months or after 80 to 100 jumps.”

The organisers, Head Rush Bungee and Centre for Adventure and Rejuvenation of Environment (CARE), had not replaced crucial equipment such as harness, shackles and so on. “They should be replaced every six months,” he told The Hindu here on Monday.

According to Srinivas, Managing Director, Hoysala Sports, the bungee cord, body belt, back iron hook, fibre helmet, cushioning shoes should be of international quality. When the participant jumps from the great height, the cord stretches and he is catapulted upwards again as the cord snaps back and continues to swing up and down, stretching the cord.

Abroad, there are standards and safety measures in place, but not so in India, said K.H. Raju, Director of Adventure Products and Services India Pvt Ltd.

Elsewhere, the law demands quality bungee cord, harness, climbing rope, carabineers (safety pins) and so on.

In Bhargav’s case, the organisers had not used backup rope. Instead they just used a harness, he told The Hindu.

Meanwhile the Anekal police said that they were still looking for experts to continue their investigation.

“We are collecting information about experts who can scientifically test the bungee cord to arrive at a concrete decision. We understand that the cord, which used in the event, should have been discarded after a maximum 100 jumps. But we were told it was being used for the past many months,” Anekal inspector Marikale Gowda said.

Meanwhile a portion of the bungee cord is still hanging from the crane at the PaintBall Arena, the accident site. The Anekal police have not recovered it yet.