Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Don't Jump

I wasn't going to post on this story, but then I changed my mind.


Back in the summer we went to the 443rd annual bridge jumping competition from the Stari Most in Mostar. It was an insane – and awe inspiring – spectacle. Divers from all over had come to demonstrate that art of shallow diving. There seemed to be two basic techniques: feet first or head first. One seemed to score points for a big splash, the other didn't. Later that evening, I was leaning on the railings at the launch point, staring down into the swirling waters, discussing with a friend whether I'd have the bottle to jump if my life depended on it.


This morning I heard that someone died jumping off the Stari Most on Monday. The local word was he jumped from the wrong side, landed on his back and and never reappeared from the swollen waters. One local friend seemed bothered that people he knew were treating it quite lightly; “perhaps we saw too much death in the war” he offered. The sad fact is this is, as much as anything, a lesson in 'respect local culture'. No one just jumps off the Stari Most. There is a diving club that trains people from smaller platforms up and down the Neretva. No club member has died diving from the bridge. The Telegraph reports that some of these people tried to dissuade the jumper. Sadly, it seems he did not listen.

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