AJ Hackett Bungy launches investigation

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AJ Hackett Bungy has launched an internal investigation after an Australian tourist slipped through her harness while riding the Nevis Arc.

Tarla Carpenter was left clinging to her boyfriend Matthew Pararta after the full body harness she was wearing slipped from her waist during the 300m arc swing in the Nevis Canyon on April 16.

See video footage here.

Carpenter, 22, told Australian news show A Current Affair: “Everything that was around my legs became around my underarms and it just felt like I had slipped through like a net.

“I pretty much hung on for dear life and just gripped on to whatever was in front of me that I could get.”

She wasn’t injured during the swing – regarded as the world’s highest and includes a 70m freefall.

The footage shows the couple sitting in the swing normally, with Carpenter sitting beneath Pararta, before the swing is released. It’s during the swing she loses her safety position, and can be seen clinging to Pararta’s waist with the harness beneath her armpits as the couple are brought back up to the platform.

Visibly upset, she tells A Current Affair that it’s hard to talk about the incident: “It just makes you really treasure your life a lot more.”

AJ Hackett Bungy chief executive David Mitchell confirms the incident and says the company has launched a thorough internal investigation.

“[The company] is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities in compliance with recognised standards of practice and regulations,” a statement says.

“AJ Hackett fully appreciates that the incident would have been distressing and frightening for the rider and her partner and has expressed its sincere regret to the couple.

“Our over-riding priority was to ensure the wellbeing of the couple which was why they were met immediately after the ride and again the following day to establish if there was anything the company could do for them.

Mitchell won’t make further comment on the incident while the investigation is underway.

“AJ Hackett Bungy continues to exceed required safety standards for bungy and swing operations and is committed to the safety of customers and crew at all times.”

A Department of Labour spokeswoman says DoL officials have been notified and await findings of AJ Hackett Bungy’s internal investigation before deciding whether to launch their own enquiry.