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Report: Balloon Bungee Jumper Wasn’t High Enough

July 2, 1993

ARVADA, Colo. (AP) _ Police are considering homicide charges against a company that gave a man a fatal free bungee jump from a balloon that was floating too close to the ground.

Bungee America ignored safety standards that would have prevented William Brotherton’s death Sunday when he lept from a tethered hot-air balloon over a field, said a report by Carl Finocchiaro, safety committee chairman of the North American Bungee Association.

Brotherton, 20, was taking a free jump in exchange for testing equipment. Finocchiaro’s report was turned over to police. He concluded:

- The balloon was hovering at 190 feet. For Brotherton not to have hit the ground, it needed to be 260 feet up.

- Communication between the ground crew and balloon pilot was inadequate. The ground crew tried to warn the pilot, by shouting, that the balloon was too low. Radios should have been used.

Bungee America wasn’t insured or licensed by the state. A recording on the company’s telephone said the line had been disconnected.

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