The safety concerns behind Will Smith’s bungee jump stunt

Actor Will Smith celebrated his 50th birthday by bungee jumping from a helicopter “in the heart of the Grand Canyon”. However, Smith’s jump did not actually take place in the national park itself, but nearby over a smaller gorge on the Navajo Nation – a Native American tribe whose reservation borders the national park itself.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Kari Cobb stated that Will Smith did not approach the national park for his jump, but it would not have been allowed. “It’s everything relating to safety, impacts to visitors and impacts to the resources,” said Cobb.

In 1999 and 2011 respectively, stunt performer Evel Knievel’s son Robbie Knievel and Swiss aviator Yves Rossy requested to jump part of the canyon and to soar across it in a jet suit, but both requests were rejected by the park.

Maureen Oltrogge, a former spokeswoman for the national park, stated many requests have been rejected due to size, impact upon tourism, or because they did not align with the park’s educational values.

Smith’s jump raised money for Education Cannot Wait, a global fund providing education in areas of crisis. The jump was streamed live on YouTube, where it is still available to watch.