5 mins

When travel goes wrong

Five salutary lessons on why you should never travel without good insurance

Snarling cheetahs

Cheet-ing death

A Scottish tourist visiting a South African cheetah reserve to celebrate her 60th birthday narrowly avoided death when two of the big cats turned on her. Her husband, thinking that the cheetahs were only playing, continued to take photos. When a park attendant tried to pull the cheetah off her, its brother joined in, pinning her to the ground and biting her legs. The attack lasted for about three minutes before she was able to make a run for the gate.

Graham Kerley, director for the Centre for African Conservation Ecology, said wild animals in captivity should not be treated as "tame pussycats".

"They are wild and should be considered dangerous," he added.

Breaking point at Vic Falls

Aussie backpacker Erin Langworthy got more than she bargained for when she signed up for a New Year's Eve bungee-jump off the Victoria Falls bridge. The bungee cord snapped and she was sent plummeting into the crocodile-infested waters of the Zambezi river. Miraculously, she survived and had to swim against the current to the Zimbabwean side. At one point she had to dive down and free what was left of the chord when it got tangled in rocks.

Two weeks later Zambian tourism minister Given Lubinda did the same jump to prove that the incident was a 'one-off'. Funnily enough, his bungee cord didn't break.

Polar bear smash and grab

Visitors to Rotterdam Zoo got the fright of their life when Vicks the polar bear picked up a rock and threw it, shattering one of the four big windows through which you can admire adolescent Vicks and his mum Olinka swimming underwater.

Luckily, only the outer layer of the five-layer, 7cm thick glass cracked, not unlike a windscreen chipped by a stone according to the zoo. A windscreen with tonnes of water and a polar bear on the other side of it.

It's all slipping away

80-year-old granny “Laverne” was upbeat before her first ever sky dive saying it was something she'd wanted to do “for at least ten years.” She wasn't so upbeat seconds into the jump when she began slipping out of the harness and her instructor – and the camera operator filming the jump – had to cling onto her clothing to stop her plummeting 13,000ft to the ground.

According to the QMI Agency, both Laverne and the instructor needed to be comforted after landing safely on the ground.

A drop in the bucket-list

A hot air balloon flight over Luxor at dawn features highly on many people's lists of things they want to do before they die. But for this group of travellers an early morning drift across the Valley of the Kings was very nearly the last thing they ever did.

We all know that what goes up has to come down. But hopefully in a more controlled manner than this terrifying ride that included a complimentary dip in the Nile and an undignified landing in a field.

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