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Durban - Thokozani Mncube had allegedly been “showing off” and performing his “own tricks” on the Wild Swing when he plunged to his death on Friday.
Mncube, 26, an adventure tour guide at Wild 5 Adventures fell 165m to his death at Oribi Gorge, on the South Coast.
Paul Jefferys, owner of Wild 5 Adventures, said Mncube was allegedly performing a dangerous variant on the recommended manoeuvre on the Wild Swing, which spans the 165m drop over the falls, when he caused safety equipment to be compromised.
“While attempting a trick jump – jumping backwards and twisting at the same time – he jumped at a very strange angle and landed hanging over another cable to the left of the swing.
“He then unfortunately slid along this cable, cutting through both his jump slings and safety backup sling, each of which has a six-ton breaking strain, and this caused him to fall,” said Jefferys.
The death plunge, from what is billed as the “highest swing in the world”, was witnessed by a number of guests who are understood to be receiving trauma counselling.
It is believed Mncube was doing a demonstration for a young woman who had developed cold feet and he was trying to persuade her there was no danger.
Paramedics helped to recover his body from the gorge.
Wild 5 Adventures is based at Oribi Gorge outside Port Shepstone at the highest point of Lehr’s Waterfall.
The drop is equivalent to the height of a 55-storey building.
Company publicist, Nikki Tilley, said thousands of visitors had enjoyed the adventure swing without incident, and if used correctly, there is “absolutely no danger whatsoever”. “We are all devastated by Mncube’s death, but unfortunately you cannot play around or improvise with high-spec equipment,” she said.
“That applies to any sport.”
Tilley said that, in the interim, the swing would remain closed out of respect for Mncube and to allow the staff to receive counselling and mourn.
“It was a workplace accident and while all the usual channels will be followed in (investigating) an unnatural death, we are not looking at it as anything other than a very unfortunate event,” said provincial police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker
He said while a post-mortem would be done, its results were “designed to give the family closure rather than reveal anything suspicious”.
Jefferys said Mncube had been a valued employee.
“He will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues whose heartfelt condolences go out to his family,” he said.
Mncube had been employed by the Oribi Gorge Hotel and Wild 5 Adventures for a year and a half before his death.