A 19-year-old California man was suspended almost 30 feet in the air for about half-an-hour when a bungee jump malfunctioned at a local fair.
“I said a prayer. I told myself, ‘God, I’m not going to die here,’” Roger Rodriguez, of Oxnard, California, told CBS-LA about his mid-air fright.
Rodriguez was left dangling after bungee jumping at the Ventura Country Fair on the evening of August 2. Fire officials told the Ventura County Star that a mechanical failure kept ride operators from being able to pull Rodriguez up or to lower him to the ground. He hung there for at least 20 minutes until rescue crews arrived.
“I was on the verge of passing out; my head was filled with blood, my veins were popping out of my body,” Rodriguez told KTLA. “I remember telling them to hurry up, using the last strength I had in my body, telling them to hurry up.”
The Ventura Fire Department used a ladder to reach Rodriguez and bring him back to safety.
“When I was upside down looking at the ladder it was such an unreal moment for me because that’s when I realized, ‘Oh, finally, I’m saved,’” Rodriguez said.
The moment when firefighters arrive on the scene was captured on a Facebook Live video by Mariah Barnes-Jones, and the footage has since been viewed more than 46,000 times. The video shows Rodriguez dangling in the air as spectators look on, and when rescue crews finally raise a ladder to him, the crowd erupts with cheers.
Rodriguez was taken to a nearby hospital after his rescue and he was released with no trauma, he said — except for a bit of a headache.
According to the Ventura County Star, officials with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health closed the attraction and are currently looking into what went wrong. They are not sure when the bungee jump would reopen.
There were two other people who were stuck due to the mechanical failure: the attraction’s operator, and Rodriguez’s friend, Eddie Rodriguez, who were both left in the bungee cage that Rodriguez leaped from. They made it to the ground by rappeling down a rope.
Rodriguez said he was refunded the $40 he paid for the attraction, and the price of his admission ticket to the fair. The experience isn’t stopping him from being adventurous, though, and he is planning a parasailing trip soon, according to KTLA. But he says that the bungee experience has reminded him to value his health and well-being.
“I learned to appreciate your life because you never know what horrible accident you could be in,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re at the fair, or a car, or who you’re with, where you are; just to appreciate life and respect those who are in a really bad situation like that.”