The Queen has sent a message of sympathy to the family of a New ???ebrides?
LV ZOOM OUT Men on tower
MCU Royal party looking up at tower
PAN ACROSS Crowd TO divers making way to tower
LV ZOOM IN Tower and men preparing to dive
SV PAN Royal party TO first diver on ground
LV Third diver claips hands and dives to ground
SV People looking and covering faces
SV Injured man being carried away by local people
SV Royal party looking on
SV Injured man being carried to shelter
SCU Injured man lying on bed being treated
GV LV Pentecost and Britannia in background
"The men of Pentecost Island, with liana vines tied around their ankles, dive from towers on special occasions as proof of their manhood. The Queen, dressed in slacks, was in a holiday mood when she arrived in Pentecost Island with the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips and Lord Louis Mountbatten for the land diving....the first held for two years. They watched with interest as the vines were tied to the ankles of the divers and the islanders danced and chanted to prepare them for the moment when they would hurl themselves from the tower one hundred feed above the mud. The first two divers seen by the Queen landed head-first in the mud without injury as the vines broke their fall. Then the third diver, a man in his thirties named John Tabi...married with three children...launched himself from the top of the tower. Both vines tied to his ankles snapped and he plunged head-first into the ground with a sickening thud. He lay still. Women wailed and the Royal Party looked concerned as the man, limp but still conscious, was carried to a nearby shelter. The man's legs were paralysed. He was admitted to hospital with a suspected fracture of the spine. It was a tragic climax to the Queen's first visit to the New Hebrides. This is Errol Hodge on Pentecost Island reporting for ABC National News."
Initials BB/2025 BD/PN/BB/2051
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The Queen has sent a message of sympathy to the family of a New ???ebrides land diver who was fatally injured in front of her during the strange ceremony of land-diving on the island of Pentecost of Saturday (16 February).
The Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Captain Mark Phillips and Lord Louis Mountbatten saw thirty-year-old John Tabi crash to the ground in front of them after vines securing his ankles snapped.
The diver broke his back in the fall and died in hospital on Monday. The Queen was told of his death in a message sent to the Royal Yacht Britannia when she arrived at the Samoan Island of Guadalcanal the same day.
Four divers were giving the display of land-diving to the Royal Party when the accident happened. The ritual is performed as a proof of manhood on Pentecost Island.
The Queen is touring the Pacific on the Royal Yacht Britannia after visiting New Zealand for the Commonwealth Games.
Coverage includes a commentary by Australian Broadcasting operation reporter Errol Hodges. An alternative is provided overpage: