28 Jun 2006

Warning against overuse of Vanuatu land dive

7:56 pm on 28 June 2006

The Vanuatu cultural centre has warned organisers of the Nagol or Pentecost Land Dive not to over-exploit the annual event after two jumpers were seriously injured.

The deputy director of the cultural centre, Marcellino Ambong, issued the warning after learning that the organisers had extended the annual period for the Land Diving, which is considered sacred.

The National Tourism Office and the National Council of Chiefs have backed the Cultural Centre, saying adding one more month to the jump period also means overexploiting the environment.

The secretary general of the national Council of Chiefs, Selwyn Garu, says a successful land dive depends on mature trees with which to build the tall structure and mature vines with which to hold the structure and carry the jumper down to earth without snapping.

Mr Garu has called on the chiefs and organisers to put life before money.

The National Tourism Office says new tour companies had convinced the organisers to add one more month to the jump period, which resulted in injury to two jumpers.