Big Swing Graskop owners tried after deadly tandem jump

2011-10-21 09:03

A company and two employees who ran a big swing cable jump are on trial for murder in the Graskop Regional Court after a woman died during a tandem jump with her husband.

Doctor Mnisi, Al Martens and the owners of Big Swing in Graskop, Vuka Marketing, were charged with the murder of 29-year-old Jo-Ann Samuels, who died when she and her husband, SA National Defence Force Captain Hendrik Samuels (30), did the jump on October 3 2009.

Beeld reports that a DVD of the jump, filmed by Martens, was shown in court yesterday. The DVD starts with Mr Samuels joking about his insurance policy. “We are on our way to testing my policy,” he quipped.

Mrs Samuels’ excited screams during the jump could be heard, but the screams became anxious moments before the couple hit a large rock at the bottom of the kloof.

Someone is heard shouting “What the fuck!”, and the recording stops. After the DVD was handed in as evidence, regional court magistrate Andre Lambrecht commented on a noise at the end of the recording.

He wanted to know if the legal team agreed that there was a noise that sounded like a “rope that is slipping”. Defence lawyer Piet Luneburg then asked for an adjournment.

After the adjournment, the case was postponed to today due to a power failure at the court. Luneburg said that all jumps, besides the Samuels jump, had been faultless since 2001.

Last year, the Pretoria News reported that police originally investigated a case of culpable homicide but the Director of Public Prosecutions referred the investigation to the occupational health section of the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court.

It was found that the incident was not the result of negligence, but the organisers should have foreseen that someone could die. The rope attached to the platform from which the couple had jumped was allegedly not secured as it should have been, so it was decided to institute criminal prosecutions.

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