Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge now has world's highest bungy jump

Straddled between two cliffs in China's Hunan province, a 430-metre glass-bottomed suspension bridge offers the world's highest bungy jump from a footbridge.

Visitors to the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge can take a leap from a height of 260 metres, a stomach-churning way to take in the views of the surrounding Wulingyuan wilderness, a UNSECO World Heritage site.

The area, a popular international tourist attraction, is famous for its quartzite sandstone pillars and peaks extending into the clouds, along with deep ravines and gorges.

Video: Jumping from the world's highest bungee bridge

The bungy jumping operation opened at the end of 2020, delayed by restrictions imposed by the Chinese government because of the coronavirus pandemic, which included some of the world's toughest border restrictions.

Operator Jonni Deaker said business had been building slowly as domestic tourists began to return to the region.

"We are probably averaging 20 jumps a day at the moment, which is pretty good for a jump this size," Deaker said, adding he was confident of a solid July-August holiday season.

ZHANGJIAJIE, CHINA - MAY 26:  A freestyle bungee jumping competition is held on the glass-bottom bridge at Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon on May 26, 2018 in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province of China. Participants made bungee jumping from a platform with a vertical height of 260 meters from the valley bottom at Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.  (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images) Getty image for Traveller. Single use only.

Photo: Getty Images

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To compensate for the lack of foreign tourists, the cost of a jump has been cut by around 40 per cent to RMB 1998 (roughly $A420).

The pedestrian bridge, designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan and opened in August 2016, was once the longest glass-bottomed suspension bridge in the world.

ZHANGJIAJIE, CHINA - MAY 17: (CHINA OUT) (Image taken with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Aerial view of a glass-bottomed bridge built over a 980ft valley of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon on May 17, 2016 in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province of China. A 1,410-foot-long see-through walkway over China\'s Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is to be completed which is marked to be the world\'s tallest and longest glass bridge. Beside that a bungee platform will be attached to the terrifying bridge at 853 feet high and a 558-foot long swing is expected to be dangled down from the structure towards the lush valley. The glass floor will allow visitors to peer through their feet at the canyon floor 300 meters (984 feet) below. Getty image for Traveller. Single use only.

Photo: Getty Images

Jumping into the abyss below might be terrifying for some, but Deaker believes the sheer height makes it less intimidating than smaller jumps.

"Because it's so high, it actually makes it easier", Deaker said. "When you're this high, it's kind of like skydiving." 

The construction of novelty bridges is increasingly common in China: it's estimated there are over 2300 glass bridges in the country, along with "an undetermined number of glass walkways or slides" according to state media service ECNS. The country also boasts the world's longest suspension glass bridge in Guangdong province, at a height of 201 metres and spanning 526.14 metres.

In May, high winds in north-east China's Jilin province led to a glass bridge shattering, trapping an unlucky tourist 100 metres up on Piyan Mountain, Longjing.

After it shattered, pieces of glass from the bridge were picked up by the wind and travelled at speeds of up to 150km/h, according to a report from Chinese news agency Xinhua. 

The trapped male tourist was forced to crawl to safety with the aid of firefighters, police and tourism personnel.

Reuters with Amelia McGuire

See also: Glass bridge in China breaks, trapping tourist 100m above ground

See also: It's real: Bizarre Chinese bridge goes viral amid claims it's fake

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