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Poor English led teen to bungee jump without rope

June 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

When a bungee jump instructor with poor English warned a young tourist “no jump”, the tourist misheard the instruction as “now jump” and dived off a bridge without a bungee cord attached, a court has heard.

The incident took place in Spain, where a judge has ruled that the bungee company will face prosecution.

A 17-year-old visitor from the Netherlands, Vera Mol, died in August 2015 when she jumped from a viaduct on Spain’s north coast, Spanish news outlet EuropaPress reported.

Mol was with a tour group on a trip organised by a local adventure sports company.

The instructor had meant to say “don’t jump” but had limited English so said “no jump” instead – which the girl misunderstood with fatal consequences.

In an earlier appeal, the bungee company had argued the teenager jumped before she was told to. The director of the company will now face prosecution for homicide through negligence.

The ruling concluded that Mol’s death resulted in part from a “misunderstanding derived from the incorrect use and pronunciation of English”.

The instructor’s warning “could perfectly well be understood as an explicit order to jump by the victim,” the judgement said.

There were other serious problems with the jump.

  • Bungee jumping from a viaduct onto a highway is strictly forbidden.
  • No safety line was used.
  • The teenager was was underage and the instructor didn’t bother to check for parental consent.

Written by Peter Needham

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