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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meet the Bolivians who defy death to soar across 650ft high valleys on zip line

Even the bravest of daredevils would be reluctant to try this zip line.

The precarious steel wire used to carry hauls of coca leaves stretches across a 650ft high perilous valley in Bolivia and is held together with pieces of string.

But for dozens of farmers carrying the cocaine ingredients it's no problem. And it's likely that they've taken a fair amount of the drug themselves after their boasts that they 'fly faster than astronauts'.

The harvesters used to spend up to an hour making the back-breaking trek carrying their haul of coca leaves down the valley, across a river then up the steep sides.

But after one farmer came up with the idea of using a zip line they can make the trip in just 30 seconds.

And if they didn't have a head for heights before, they almost definitely would after eating some of their coca crop - the narcotic is one of the main ingredients in the stimulant cocaine.

One youngster who uses the zip wire every day beams with delight as he says: 'On our ropes we're like birds and we go faster than astronauts'.

The farmers have been dubbed 'the flying men of the Yungas Valley'. They eat the coca leaves and sell three sacks of the crop for $180. Most of the plants end up in the laboratories of drug traffickers in South America.


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