A man died and another was seriously injured on January 3, 2009 while zorbing downhill on a snow slope in the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region of the North Caucasus Mountains.
How the Accident Happened
After the two men received their training, they both entered one zorb, then they they rolled downhill toward a net that was suppose to catch them. When the riders reach the end of the course, the safety net broke and the orb careened down the hill out of control.
What Caused the Death and Injuries?
The orb rolled out of control, faster and faster, almost a mile down the hill. It slamming into rocks on a jagged ridge, and finally plunging over a precipice onto a frozen lake.. After rolling approximately 1.5 kilometers, the two men were ejected from the orb and they landed in the snow about 10 meters apart. 27 year old Denis Burakov suffered a spinal injury and a broke his neck and he died on the way to the hospital. 33 year old Vladimir Shcherbov sustained a concussion and deep cuts to his arms and face but he survived those injuries.
About the Zorbing Tour Operator
The operator who charged the men approximately $10 USD for the ride was 25 year old Ravil Chekunov. He was arrested after he admitted he purchased the orb for his own use, he was not a licensed operator, and the two men were his first customers. Moscow businessman Montay Imanov later claimed the orb that carried Burakov and Shcherbov bad been stolen from him at gunpoint in 2009.
Incident Highlighted Zorbing Safety Issues
The incident sparked a movement to develop safety standards for the sport, such as the use of tracks or chutes
See also the article Russian Zorb Death Was Completely Avoidable.