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American dies bungee jumping with canyoning disaster company

A Swiss adventure company has suspended operations after a 22-year-old American died in a bungee jumping outing it organised at the weekend in the Bernese Oberland.

This is the second fatal accident linked to Adventure World in less than a year.The victim was with a group of seven tourists taking part in activities organised by Adventure World, the same company that was at the centre of last year's canyoning disaster in the Saxeten gorge.

Despite being fastened by large elastic, the American plummeted to the ground near the Schilthorn peak after jumping from a cable car over a parking lot.

An investigation into what caused the death has been opened, but results will only be disclosed next week. "We do not know much. The authorities are still investigating the circumstances," Adventure World owner, Georg Hoedle, told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

Hoedle said the company had suspended all activity while the investigation was underway. He acknowledged that organisers had been carrying two ropes - one for the 100 metre jump, and the other for an 180 metre jump. But he said they were different colours and clearly marked to prevent them from being mixed up.

During a white-water canyoning expedition near Interlaken last July, 21 people, mainly young Australians, lost their lives when a flash flood swept through the gorge.

Hoedle said he could not explain why the company had been linked to two such tragedies in such a short time. "We went over our safety guidelines painstakingly after the Saxentenbach (canyoning) accident. Every staff member is safety conscious right down to his fingertips. And now this. I cannot imagine it. It is crazy."

An investigation into the canyoning accident is underway, and three part owners of Adventure World are still being questioned by police on charges of manslaughter.

swissinfo and agencies

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