Footsteps Through Time

Falling for the Falls

Many visitors to the Victoria Falls visited the waterfall after dark, especially at the time of the full moon, to witness the magic of the lunar rainbow. In 1955 one such visitor, Mr Alan Perry, viewing them from the north bank, luckily survived a fall into the main gorge of the Falls. Trees broke his fall about half way down, and Mr Perry had to survive overnight before search parties could locate and rescue him.

“In February 1955 there was the dramatic story of Alan Perry who spent a terrifying night on a narrow spray-splashed ledge beside the thundering Eastern Cataract.

"Viewing the lunar rainbow with companions from the hotel, Mr Perry, a Rhodesian, went too near the edge of the precipice and fell headlong into the First Gorge. Trees broke his direct fall and a tree held him on a ledge about 160 feet below the lip. His shouts to direct his friends could not be heard above the roar of the Falls.

"At daybreak the search was continued and Mr Perry was seen and rescue operations were immediately commenced. Dr R E Dunn of Livingstone descended on the rope ladder to administer what medical aid he could to the badly injured man. Mr John Tebbit and Mr John Parslow of the BSAP descended to the ledge and, after being strapped to a stretcher, Mr Perry was successfully brought to the top and rushed to hospital where he spent many months recovering from his multiple injuries. Dr Dunn received the MBE, Mr Tebbit the MBE (Civilian) and Mr Parslow the BEM for their valiant efforts.” (Woods, 1960)

More recently a Chinese tourist experienced the same fate, during a daytime visit to the Falls, again on the north bank.

On 26th November 2013 a team of Livingstone Fire Brigade servicemen, together with Zambian Police and staff from the Victoria Falls Bridge Bungee, were called to rescue a tourist who fell into the gorge from the north bank. Wang ShunXue, a 44 year old Chinese national, fell into gorge near the Knife-Edge Bridge as he was taking pictures of himself and friends with the Falls in the background, thus becoming the first person known to fall into the gorge whilst taking a ‘selfie.’ Fortunately he survived without serious injury. (see Victoria Falls Bits and Blogs, Nov 2013 and May 2018 for more information).

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