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'Zorbing' Death Brings Call For Safety Rules; Fatal Ride Captured On Video

Posted: January 9, 2013

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For a little less than $10 each, two tourists paid for a ride down a Russian mountain in an inflatable ball. It went off course, into a ravine and ended up on a frozen lake. One of the men died after his neck was broken. The inventors of the sport want safety rules to be enforced.

A screen image from video of the

A screen image from video of the "zorb" as it began rolling down a mountain in southern Russia last week. One of the two men inside would die from injuries received after it careened into a ravine.

Video of two Russian men climbing into an inflatable ball and rolling down a Russian mountain on a ride that would take them over a cliff, into a ravine, on to a frozen lake and cause one of the men's death, is getting a lot of views today.

And the accident has led to calls from "the New Zealand inventors of zorbing ... for a global code of safe operations to try and stamp out cowboy operators," the Otago Daily Times reports.

"Unfortunately, when you have a new adventure sport like this come out, especially in developing countries, you tend to see a lot of people not following any form of regulation," Zorb Ltd. chief executive Hope Horrocks tells the New Zealand newspaper.

Zorbs need, for example, safe landing zones and tracks or chutes that they can't easily roll out of — as appears to have happened in Russia.

Russia's RT.com says an investigation has been launched into the incident in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of the North Caucasus. It says the two men, Denis Burakov, 27, and Vladimir Shcherbov, 33, "came to [the] Dombay ski resort individually, but on Jan. 3 both decided they wanted to take a trip down a slope in an inflatable zorb. The zorbing experience, growing in popularity in Russia, cost each of them less than $10."

Gawker writes that "Burakov sustained a broken neck in the fall and died on the way to the hospital. Shcherbov suffered multiple lacerations and a concussion, but is expected to survive."

The horror experienced by the two men and what it might have been like inside that zorb has generated quite a bit of discussion on Reddit.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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