Bungee jumping has been a popular extreme sport for a long time now, particularly with young people travelling abroad. There have been many high-profile media reports over the last few years about people dying from bungee jumping, but how many recorded deaths have there actually been?
How many people have died bungee jumping? There were 18 recorded deaths from bungee jumping between 1986 and 2002. In more recent years, there have been 5 bungee jumping fatalities recorded between 2015 and 2018. Bungee jumping death statistics report a 1 in 500,000 chance of a fatality.
Average bungee jumping deaths per year
During my research into how many people die bungee jumping, I was only able to find statistics from 1986 to 2002 and then 2015 to 2018. Based on that, I found the following fatality numbers since bungee jumping was invented.
- 18 deaths in 16 years: from 1986 to 2002
- 5 deaths in 4 years: from 2015 to 2018
If you take those fatalities and the years, they spread across that equates to 23 deaths in 20 years. Therefore, there are 1.15 bungee jumping deaths per year on average that get reported in the press..
I could find no recorded deaths from 2002 to 2015, but we have to assume that fatalities did occur during this time period.
Please Note: These are only “recorded deaths”. There could be more than this that I didn’t find that went un-reported due to them happening in foreign countries to non-US and UK nationals.
What are the chances of dying when bungee jumping?
Bungee jumping has had its fair share of media attention, especially with some of the tragic deaths that have been recorded since 2015 (you can see examples of those lower down the page).
However, the statistics actually tell a bit of a different story; there is only being a two in one million chance of dying. Compare that to other things such as driving, and we see the statistics below:
- The risk of death whilst bungee jumping: 1 in 500,000
- The risk of death whilst on a car journey: 1 in 20,000
In reality, bungee jumping is actually very safe providing it’s done correctly. The main cause of death will be human error.
Did You Know? Many states in America banned bungee jumping after deaths in the 1990s. Now there is a lot of legislation over how old you need to be to do a jump. I’ve published a table which shows each country and what the minimum age limit is.
The fatality risk of bungee jumping vs other sports
I also wanted to find out what the risk of death was in other sports, including some of the more extreme activities. This serves as a very interesting comparison.
- American Football: 1 in 50,000
- Base Jumping: 1 in 60
- Boxing: 1 in 2,200
- Canoeing and Kayaking: 1 in 10,000
- Cycling: 1 in 140,845
- Grand Prix Driving: 1 in 100
- Hang Gliding: 1 in 560
- Jogging and Running: 1 in 1,000,000
- Motorcycle Racing: 1 in 1,000
- Mountain Climbing: 1 in 1,750
- Mountain Hiking: 1 in 15,700
- Scuba Diving: 1 in 34,400
- Skiing: 1 in 1,400,000
- Skydiving: 1 in 101,083
- Snowboarding: 1 in 2,200,000
- Swimming: 1 in 1,000,000
And then to make you feel a little bit better about it, I even researched the chance of death in more everyday activities apart from driving (including a snake bite):
- Air Travel:27 deaths in every 100,000 hours flown.
- Motorbike Travel:45 deaths for every 100 million miles driven
- Snake Bite: 1 in 50,000,000 chance.
Recorded deaths from bungee jumping
To calculate some of the numbers I used in the death statistics, I searched Google to see how many media reports I could find of fatal accidents.
Here’s a year by year breakdown of some of the press reports I found relating to recorded bungee jumping fatalities from the last few years.
Recorded bungee jumping deaths in 2018
I was only able to find one recorded death in 2018 which occurred in the United States.
- January 4th 2018: A nurse in Colorado, United States, died when her harness disconnected on a 70-foot bungee jump attraction at the Get Air Trampoline Park. You can view the news report on Fox News.
Recorded bungee jumping deaths in 2017
No reports found.
Recorded bungee jumping deaths in 2016
As with 2018, there was only one fatality report I found in 2016, this time occurring in Brazil.
- December 18th 2016: Fabio Ezequiel de Moraes of Brazil died when he leapt off a railway bridge. The bungee cord looked to be too short, as he missed the inflatable mattress, instead hitting the ground. You can view the news report on Asia One.
Recorded bungee jumping deaths in 2015
2015 had another recorded bungee jump fatality with this report from Spain.
- 21st July 2015: Kleyo De Abreu from London died when bungee jumping in Spain. It was due to human error, with the media reporting she misunderstood the jump instruction and hit the wall of a bridge. You can view the news report on The Independent.
I am planning on doing a bungee jump in Thailand next summer, so wanted to get an idea on what the chance of a fatality could be. Yep, that’s how my mind works!
Sometimes the bungee jumps in foreign countries don’t have the strict health and safety controls you might expect in the UK and United States. Many of the accidents will occur due to faulty equipment, poorly trained operators, and getting the weight calculations wrong.
If you are going to be trying this extreme sport out on your travels, here are a few safety pointers to reduce the risk of harm coming to you:
- Only jump with a reputable bungee company company. Google them and see what other people have to say about the experience before you go.
- Does the company abide by bungee jumping regulations? For example, in Australia and New Zealand there are these rules.
- If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it.
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