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Fatal zipline accident on Maui raises safety questions

Proper safety measures are necessary to ensure that everyone who takes part in the services offered by a business remains safe. A recent zipline accident in Hawaii has caused some concern over the safety of the recreational activity, which is very popular with visitors to the islands.

The accident occurred when a 29-year-old zipline guide was working on one of the platforms owned by Piiholo Ranch Ohana. As the young woman was working, a zipline rider came down the line at a high rate of speed. The rider hit the springs on the platform, and the worker reportedly grabbed onto the rider in an attempt to stop the rider from flying back down the line the wrong way. Instead of stopping the rider, however, the worker was pulled off the platform by the momentum.

The worker did not have on a safety harness, but was able to hang onto the rider for a few minutes. The young woman then fell 150 feet into difficult terrain. Rescue workers were unable to access the area using helicopters. By the time rescue workers reached her, the woman was already deceased.

The accident has led to calls for more regulation of the zipline industry. Piiholo Ranch reportedly backed a legislative effort two years ago. With the height of the platforms used for ziplines and the popularity of the sport, it is easy to see why increased safety measures are needed.

Obviously, falls from ziplines or recreational platforms can lead to serious injuries, much akin to falls from balconies. To prevent balcony falls, for example, railings have to meet the specifications of the building code.

Anyone who has been injured in an accident caused by unsafe conditions or the negligence of a property owner may have grounds to seek compensation for injuries. Family members of someone killed in a similar accident may also pursue compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills and other costs resulting from the death of a loved one.

Source: NBC Bay Area, "Report: Hawaii Zipline Guide Was Not Riding Zipline When She Fell," May 7, 2014Hawaii News Now, “Maui zipline worker killed in 150-foot fall,” Ben Guterrez, May 1, 2014

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