A young woman watched in horror as her guide plunged 160 metres to his death at Oribi Gorge, inland from Port Shepstone.
The man, 26, was an employee of Wild 5 Adventures, based at Oribi Gorge, and was demonstrating how the Wild Swing worked for the nervous local tourist when the “freak accident” occurred.
Wild 5 Adventures runs the Wild Swing, situated at the top of Lehr’s Falls, which is the highest swing in the world at 165m.
“He was definitely on the swing. One of the guests from the hotel was going to jump. She was scared, so this guy said: ‘Let me jump first and I’ll show you how to do it’. So he jumped,” said Benjamin van der Nest, a spokesman for Med-Evac, an ambulance service that responded to the incident.
The man, whose identity has not been made public as his immediate family had not been notified late last night, had been working for Wild 5 Adventures for a year-and-a-half.
Paul Jefferys, owner of Wild 5 Adventures, said while tragic, it had been a “freak accident” and “negligence” on the part of the employee.
“As we understand it, one of our staff members was trying to do some tricks on the swing, and he jumped off a spot at the cliff where we don’t do jumps and got tangled on to another cable,” he said.
“As he slid on the static cable it burnt his sling and it cut and he fell down.
“He’s jumped thousands of times before and guided thousands of people, it’s just a tragic time for us.”
Emergency workers arrived and worked until late into the evening to recover the body.
Members of Med-Evac and the Port Shepstone Search and Rescue Unit descended into the gorge and dived into the river below, where they found his body.
The body was brought to the top of the gorge late last night.
The local tourist and staff members have been sent for counselling.
Operations at Wild 5 Adventures will cease for a few days while the Paddock Police Station and officials from the Department of Labour investigate the incident.