SYDNEY An Australian woman has survived a terrifying fall after her bungee cord snapped during a 111-metre (364-feet) leap off Africa's Victoria Falls Bridge, plunging her into the crocodile-infested Zambezi River below.
Erin Langworthy, who suffered only cuts and bruises in the fall on New Year's Eve, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, said it was a "miracle" that she had survived the plunge into the rapids below the bridge, which borders Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"It felt like I had been slapped all over," the 22-year-old from Perth told Australia's Channel Nine television.
Video footage showed the moment towards the end of the fall that the cord snapped and hurled her into the river.
Langworthy had to dive under the water to unravel the rope bound around her feet as she entered the rapids.
"I actually had to swim down and yank the bungee cord out of whatever it was caught on to make it to the surface," she said.
After unbinding her feet she managed to swim to the river bank on the Zimbabwe side to await assistance.
"Yes, I think it's definitely a miracle that I survived," she said.
Langworthy was treated at a nearby clinic before being evacuated to South Africa.
A Zambian minister sought to reassure tourists about bungee safety but said the issue would be discussed with the operator.
"The bungee has proven to be a very viable operation considering that more than 50,000 tourists jump on it every year. It has been in operation for 10 years.
This is the first time I am hearing of an incident. The probability of an incident is one in 500,000 jumps," Information Minister Given Lubinda was quoted as saying in a report published on the Lusakatimes.com web site.
(Reporting by Pauline Askin; Editing by Ed Davies)