'They waited to see what would happen to me': Man who did world's first bungee jump recalls the moment he made history

  • Video report by ITV News West of England Correspondent Rupert Evelyn

The man who invented bungee jumping 40 years ago has spoken of how he was arrested moments after he leapt off the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

David Kirke made the leap on April 1, 1979, and told ITV News his three friends, members of Oxford University's Dangerous Sports Club, waited to see if he would bounce back up before they too jumped.

Knowing his stunt would draw attention, Mr Kirke said he wore a scarf around his face because he didn't want his mother to recognise him in the papers, the next morning.

Recalling his friends' reaction, he told ITV News: "They waited to see what would happen to me.

"I never realised this.

"When I started bouncing up again, they all jumped."

The original jump almost never happened as the four men were all sleeping off hangovers from the night before.

Police officers initially believed the jump was an April Fool's joke but when they discovered the four men on the bridge, they were arrested for breaking the local bylaws.

Mr Kirke told ITV News: "They [police officers] were very good humoured about it and they bundled us off to prison.

"They were the only police force I've ever known to bring half empty bottles of red wine, from the party, in a brown paper bag and give it to us in prison.

"That was the spirit of Bristol in my romantic opinion."

Born on April Fool's Day, the sport is now widely practiced across the world and has featured in a range of films including Golden Eye, part of the James Bond series.