National Geographic : 1955 Jan
92 Roger Bellinger A Leaper's Friend Supports Him; the Water Girl Brings Refreshment in a Bamboo Tube "Middle-aged Bebe," comments planter Newman, "was a little shaken by his jump. He insisted on making the leap because he hated to see the young bucks get all the credit." straighten the neck, or a splash of cold water restored men who, it seemed to us, must surely have had the life jerked out of them. No aircraft carrier's arresting gear ever stopped a fighter plane as abruptly as the jungle lianas halted these divers in full flight. Our ship's doctor could not explain why hips were not dislocated. Chief Wall told us that no diver in his memory had been killed. Pentecost Champion Leaps 78 Feet Close to day's end the tower still held firm. Only the final jump from the topmost plat form remained. Now the bravest man of them all, a hand some young aerialist named Warisul, began the long climb to the top amid a fanfare of screams from the dancers' chorus (page 78). A slim, lonely figure against the sky, Warisul stood on the end of his platform and spoke to the crowd. Friends had urged him not to risk his life, he said; yet he must. The young man tossed his spray of leaves as if in gallant salute to the volcano on near-by Ambrim Island, which he could see puffing dust above the blue Pacific. Calling up the final spark of courage, he leaped off and out, an arching drop of 78 feet. Timed to a split second, the platform props cracked and the board dropped, braking the fall. Warisul's head struck the earth, the elastic vines stretched and convulsed, and pulled him back into the air. One vine broke! But the other jerked Warisul up the slope. With the dexterity of a cat he landed on his feet. Women rushed up, tugged his hair, and splashed cold water in his face. Then, acrobatics ended, divers and dancers raced off to their jungle village for a feast.