A Scottish serviceman who narrowly escaped death in Afghanistan has become the first double amputee to complete a bungee jump in Scotland. Private Scott Meenagh, 23, from Cumbernauld, lost both legs above the knee in January 2011 after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) whilst on duty. Close friend Martin Bell died when a further mine went off as he carried Scott’s ravaged body back to base on a stretcher.
Yesterday, 22 months on, the soldier from 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, who walks with the aid of prosthetic legs, took another major ‘leap’ in his rehabilitation.
Scott, who played international rugby, hurled himself 40 metres from Highland Fling Bungee’s platform at Killiecrankie- close to the aptly named ‘Soldier’s Leap’.
He performed the jump in body harness with his prosthetics removed.
It was another milestone for the determined young Paratrooper, who now hopes to inspire other injured service personnel to achieve their dreams.
“One of my friends asked me if I was up for doing a bungee jump and I suppose it was a test to show I wasn’t scared,” smiled the Private, who won the Award for Overcoming Adversity at the UK military awards.
“If there is a way to do something, I’ll find it. My aim is to live my life to the full now. I lost a very close friend in Afghanistan and, if I was to sit around feeling sorry for myself, I wouldn’t be doing his memory justice, or myself.
“I see sports as my future and I also want to help others to fight their demons.”
Since losing his feet, shins and knees, Scott has learned to walk again. He has climbed Ben Nevis and won medals for archery.
He collected awards for water-ski ing at the Endeavour Games in the States and plans to hand cycle 3000 miles across America in memory of lost friend, Martin Bell.
Bungee jumping was just part of his quest to break down barriers in his recovery.
“When I was sitting in hospital after the explosion, my first thought was that I wouldn’t play rugby again.
“However, I have tried so many sports since then. The M.O.D really help injured service personnel and have given me lots of opportunities. I walk around with two of the most expensive prosthetics you can get.
“The Battle Back programme, run by Help for Heroes, has been great for me, too. They have helped me do all the different sports. They’ve made a real difference.”
A Spokesman for the M.O.D said: “We are delighted to see Scott taking part in sports and challenges and this is testament to all the hard work Scott and the medics and welfare team looking after him have put into his recovery.
“We hope he continues to go from strength to strength and we will continue to support him in doing so.”
Murray Trail, Managing Director of Highland Fling Bungee, said: “It was a privilege for us to have Scott and his friends here. Scott is a gutsy guy. He had a smile on his face at all times and he loved the jump. They were really appreciative of the way we worked. They are welcome back here any time.”