In theory, climbing into a giant inflatable ball seems like one of the safest things you could do — like swaddling yourself in protective bubble wrap.
If the ball is on a level surface, perhaps that’s true.
But if your human hamster ball is perched atop a snowy mountain surrounded by deep rocky gorges, you might want to rethink your notions of safety.
The video was shot last Thursday at the Dombai Ski Resort in the mountains of Russia’s North Caucasus.
Although there was a clearly defined downhill that path the ball — known to thrill-seekers as a Zorb or Globe Ball — was meant to follow, the Zorb irrevocably veered off course near the end of its intended run.
A voice is heard saying (in Russian): “It’s OK, it’ll stop by itself.”
Tragically, it didn’t. Denis Burakov, a 27-year-old father of two, was killed when the Zorb bounced violently into a rocky gorge. His companion in the ball, Vladimir Shcherbov, somehow escaped with multiple cuts and bruises.
Russian authorities are reportedly investigating whether the Zorb operators are at fault for the accident.
Planners of next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia, meanwhile, might need to rethink their plans to use the Zorb as a symbol of the Games.