PERRIS, CA — A bungee jumping instructor was killed in a leap from a hot air balloon in what was believed to be the first U.S. death from the thrill sport.

Hal Mark Irish, 29, of Mirada, fell more than 60 feet to his death Sunday after breaking loose from his bungee cord in a demonstration over this town 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles. As he bounced back up, Irish came off the cord.

The North American Bungee Association, a trade group for the growing sport that started five years ago in New Zealand, said the death was the first in this country.

Bungee jumpers attach themselves to an elastic cord and leap from heights, plunging head first and then bouncing back up as the cord recoils.

Enthusiasts say the jumps are safe with proper equipment and training.

Irish leaped from the balloon. The bungee cord extended normally but as he bounced back up, Irish came off the cord, Riverside County Deputy Coroner Rick Diaz said.

Irish died an hour later of multiple injuries. It wasn't immediately known how Irish had attached the bungee cords to himself.

Deaths also have been reported in New Zealand and, on Saturday, in South Africa, where a teenage girl was killed.