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18.01.2020 South Africa

Suspended in a barrel, S.African man set to break "pole sitting" record

By AFP
Two decades on from his initial effort, Kruger, 52, is on the verge of smashing his record for sitting in a pole 25 metres above the ground.  By ANTOINE DEMAISON (AFP)
LISTEN JAN 18, 2020
Two decades on from his initial effort, Kruger, 52, is on the verge of smashing his record for sitting in a pole 25 metres above the ground. By ANTOINE DEMAISON (AFP)

Vernon Kruger has been sitting in a barrel suspended 25 metres above ground for more than two months.

Overlooking the South African town of Dullstroom, the 52-year old is about to break a Guinness World record... set by himself in 1997.

"Sleeping in this barrel is not very easy," said Kruger, who usually works as a diver.

"It's a very small place to curl up in and I have to lie in a foetal position."

Since November 14, home has been a 500-litre wine barrel -- a tight squeeze for Kruger, who nonetheless plans to sit tight until at least Monday -- though organiser Fiona Jones say he plans to stay Since November 14, home has been a 500-litre wine barrel -- a tight squeeze for Kruger, who nonetheless plans to sit tight until at least Monday -- though organiser Fiona Jones say he plans to stay "a little longer". By ANTOINE DEMAISON (AFP)

Kruger's "home is the sky" is equipped with a drainage system for "all the waste".

He has been washing twice a week in a small basin and surviving on food hoisted up by his team in a wicker basket.

The idea first sprung to his mind whilst climbing a palm tree on an island during a vacation.

"Somebody said... why don't you break the record for sitting in a tree? First it was a joke and then I got it dare from my friends to actually do it," said Kruger.

Mini room with a view -- Kruger initially planned sitting it out in a tree as a dare, but, finding that had already been done, he decided to brave the cramps and back pains in his barrel.  By ANTOINE DEMAISON (AFP) Mini room with a view -- Kruger initially planned sitting it out in a tree as a dare, but, finding that had already been done, he decided to brave the cramps and back pains in his barrel. By ANTOINE DEMAISON (AFP)

After a bit a research, however, Kruger discovered that a man from Indonesia had already broken the record by sitting in a tree for 28 days.

He scrapped the idea and one of his friends suggested "pole sitting".

"The record was 54 days then," said Kruger, who decided to take on the challenge and sat "on pole" for 64 days.

Despite the cramps and back pains, Kruger repeated the experience more than two decades later.

"It does get a bit frustrating up here especially because I can't do many things for myself," he admitted. "I need to rely on other people for absolutely everything."

By Monday, Kruger will have spent 67 days in his barrel.

And to his team's dismay, he plans to stay more.

"Vernon is not coming down when he breaks his record," said organiser Fiona Jones. "He's going to stay a little longer."

"We're concerned," she added. "Because we've got to get him down."

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