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My Nightmare Phuket Bungy Jump: Tourist Tells

Monday, October 5, 2009
ONLINE web sites still claim a bungy jump on Phuket has ''a 100 percent safety record'' even after a British tourist has told of his nightmare crash.

The harness around the man's feet worked free. Injuries suffered by Rishi Baveja when he hit a lagoon at high speed were like those of a car crash victim, surgeons are quoted as saying.

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper carries a report with photographs and video that show Mr Baveja diving from the tower and the bungy cord coming free from his legs.

Other news outlets around the world are picking up the story and highlighting especially the dramatic video, which shows Mr Baveja jumping and crashing at the bungy jump in Kathu.

Phuketwan was given the telephone number of a person authorised to respond on behalf of the bungy jump.

A message was left but we have yet to hear the bungy jump's version of events, or whether the ''100 percent safety record'' could still be justified.

Mr Baveja did survive the incident, although the newspaper says he spent a month in a hospital in Bangkok and suffered a ruptured spleen, collapsed lungs, a torn liver and severe bruising.

No date was given for the incident. Mr Baveja told the Daily Mail he was on a month-long holiday on Phuket to celebrate achieving his engineering degree.

The Daily Mail reports: ''A video of the jump records his yelp of fear just before he hits the water, while an instructor appears to say 'Oh', as the realisation of what is happening dawns on him.

''Mr Baveja said it was not clear how the harness was able to work loose and he would not be suing the operators because he feels there is little prospect of success.''

Mr Baveja said he plans to go skydiving when he has recovered.
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Comments

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Being a highly experienced health care provider and rehabilitation specialist I can tell you that bungee jumping is just about the stupidest thing you can do, even if the rope / harness doesn't break you are just begging for second degree whiplash syndrome. Damn things should be outlawed

Posted by proper health care on October 6, 2009 04:09

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Thailand IS NOT up to 1st world safety standards. Repeat... So why are tourists expecting that it is, who is telling them this?

Posted by Horse Doctor on October 6, 2009 07:37

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Thailand does not pretend to be first-world. It's a developing country, with developing standards. Yet the vast majority of holidaymakers have a great time in Thailand. And genuine efforts are being made to lift standards. 99.999 percent of holidays are mishap-free The biggest cause of mishaps and tragedies is self-inflicted: the failure of visitors to take commonsense precautions and care.

Posted by Angelfire on October 6, 2009 09:29

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99.9 per cent are mishap free. I might take issue with that or that tragedies are generally self inflicted.

How can you anticipate your whole family being gored by an elephant at a tourist show?

Posted by Andrew on October 10, 2009 19:24

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Hey Andrew, elephants are and always will be, dangerous wild animals. They are not cuddly things for humans to play with or ride on. There are risks ok ? We use them for work like hauling. In Africa nobody would dare ride a lion or a cape buffalo ??

Posted by Graham on October 10, 2009 20:46

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Andrew,
Gorings by elephants are rare. I'd call that misfortune. It's certainly a tragedy rather than a mishap. Mishaps are often self-inflicted and avoidable, tragedies are not. However, statistics do support the ''99.9 percent are safe'' theory.

Of the estimated 860,000 British visitors and 41,000 residents in Thailand in the last annual official figures, the British embassy reported 1412 assisted cases, 1066 ''serious assistance'' cases, and 746 lost passports. ''Serious assistance'' cases include arrests, hospitalizations, deaths, reported rapes. It excludes ''Advice and Self Help.'' cases.

With a total of 900,000 Brits in Thailand in that particular year to April 1, those figures indicate it's not an especially dangerous place for ''99.9 percent.'' Motorcycle mishaps surely count as self-inflicted, given that most people don't ride motorcycles at home and so shouldn't ride them when travelling. In the absence of statistics from other sources, you have to assume that travellers from all nations get into trouble in Thailand in roughly the same proportions as Brtis.

There's also probably a dramatic difference in the risk factor depending on two elements (a) where you spend most of your time, ie Patpong, Pattaya and Patong, or on a quiet farm in the country, and (b) whether you are out and about between 11pm and 4am, a time that clearly puts you at greater risk of becoming a statistical victim of crime and misadventure.

If the bungy jump guys are right, one incident in 140,000 jumps makes the top of a 50 metre tower in Thailand a far less dangerous place than virtually every pub in Britain at closing time.

Posted by Angelfire on October 11, 2009 05:36

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Thanks for your comments, Angelfire. As they say, there are statistics and statistics. However the conclusions from the latest FCO report are that in fact that Thailand has turned out to be one of the most dangerous places to holiday for British tourists COMPARED TO OTHER COUNTRIES. I have no doubt that many if not most cases are self inflicted.

Still one does not expect to sucked into a swimming pools pumping system, gored by elephants (this is not in the jungle this is as a supervised show) or murdered by Thai police, or a monk, fed to the tigers by your Thai wife etc.

Relatives who caught the One-two-go flight which crashed in Phuket will no doubt hit the roof if you attempt to justify the standards on that one!

In the case of the swimming pool, the owner was not covered by insurance. In the case of the family gored by an elephant it took the father many years to get paltry compensation from one of the richest families in the east.

In all my life I have never been attacked in a British pub but then again I chose my pubs.

But that is always the risk where alcohol is served. Can't say I haven't seen some idiots, though.

Finally, bungy jumping is of course safe if you do it right. Most accidents are caused by the ill-fitting of the bungys.

Posted by Andrew on October 11, 2009 14:45

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Andrew, the latest FCO figures certainly show that Thailand ranks high for arrests over drugs, but I would categorise that as ''self-inflicted.'' On cases requiring hospital treatment, the FCO report says:

''The highest number of hospitalisations occurred in Spain (741), followed by Greece (433), France (203) and Thailand (198). As a proportion of the number of visitors, Britons were most likely to be hospitalised in Thailand, followed by Greece, Egypt and India. Feedback from FCO staff around the world reveals that moped accidents and balcony falls contribute to a high number of hospitalisations.''

When it comes to Thailand, I guess we should read ''motorcycle'' for ''moped.'' Again, self-inflicted. There were 288 deaths in Thailand, but then many travellers to Thailand are inclined to take risks with drugs and motorcycles, not to mention alcohol!

Australia recorded 105 deaths in Thailand, twice the number of deaths in Indonesia or the US, but again the cocktail of alcohol and drugs and motorcycles probably accounts for that. The Australians don't tell travellers as much as they should.

Standards of safety on roads and at beaches etc. in Thailand can certainly be improved. But my conclusion is that Thailand as a destination is no more dangerous than most other places: Many travellers enjoy the risks and are simply a danger to themselves.

The British report is here: http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/3052790/14977181/british-abroad-report-240809

Posted by Angelfire on October 12, 2009 08:07

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angelfire

may i disagree with you on a couple of points: In the absence of statistics from other sources, you have to assume that travellers from all nations get into trouble in Thailand in roughly the same proportions as Brtis.

firstly, LIKEWISE, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATS, YOU HAVE TO ASSUMED THAT.... TRAVELLERS FROM ALL NATIONS do not GET INTO TROUBLE.... don't you agree? Specifically, since you can prove that something is not black, it does not necessarily mean that it is white.... agree?

secondly, i would go on to say that phuket is a much more dangerous tourist destination than chiangmai, krabi, trang, songkhla (just to mention a few). i just have a serious conversation with two business operators from phuket, privately they agreed that MANY phuket businesses OPTIMIZE THEIR PROFITS on farangs.... just walk out and count the number of tourists on the streets and beaches....

there's nothing personal and it is not meant to give phuket a bad name either....

Posted by naka on October 13, 2009 02:40

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For what it is worth, may i pass on a clipping from tv on another thread, pls?

I personally know women who have been victim of attempted sexual assaults at Nai Harn only to be laughed at by the police when they attempted to file a report.

Here are some statistics that will back up Laosuwan's claim that Phuket (and Thailand in general, as I maintain) is out of control:


As per the Global Peace Index 2008:

Thai vs USA

Number of homicides per 100,000 people 3 : 2

Level of violent crime 4 : 1


Level of organized conflict (internal) 3 : 1

Overall rank 2008 1-140 (1 most peacful) 118 : 97

As per WHO:


Heavy vehicle driver collision with car, pickup, van *

Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom)

#1 Ecuador: 185 deaths

#2 Thailand: 48 deaths

#3 Mexico: 15 deaths

#4 Venezuela: 6 deaths

#5 Korea, South: 6 deaths

Unspecified drowning and submersion (per capita)

World Ranking Deaths per 1 million people (numbers rounded to nearest whole digit)

#1 Belize: 64

#2 Thailand: 56

#3 Cayman Islands :45

#4 Kyrgyzstan: 44

#5 El Salvador: 42

As per the OECD Factbook 2007: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics for 2005, road fatalities/million population for Italy and the US were 90 and 145 respectively. As per the Department of Highways of Thailand, road fatalities for the same period were 504 (per million population)! That's almost 6 times the fatality rate in Italy for the same year.

The homicide with firearms rates in Thailand are equally as staggering. Based on the 8th UN survey 2002, Thailand rated 3rd in the world for murders with firearms, surpassed only by Columbia and South Africa. On a per capita basis, Thailand's murder rate was approximately 6 times that of the US. Thailand's murder rate (all causes) was double that of the US.

Posted by naka on October 13, 2009 02:44

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As for Angelfire's comment "99.999 percent of holidays are mishap-free" and other "rantings". Check the stats, you don't know what you're talking about!

Posted by Buster on November 10, 2009 21:13

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Buster,
I've seen the real statistics. People who look for trouble (no helmet, drugs, alcohol, bars and women at 2am) find it. The other 99.9 percent enjoy Thailand's beauty and hospitality, and go home safe.

Posted by Angelfire on November 11, 2009 07:21


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