Fall Kills Utah Zip Line Employee


One of the platforms at Kanab Zipline.

On July 14, an employee at the Kanab Zipline in southern Utah died after he fell 150 feet to the desert floor while trying to help a rider land on the final platform of a 2,500-foot zip line.

According to police reports, a rider approached the platform at a high rate of speed, missed the landing, and bounced back up the line. The 54-year-old employee, who was on his second day of work, reportedly jumped to grasp the rider in an attempt to help him onto the platform. Instead, the rider’s momentum carried both people back up the line. The employee managed to hold on for about 100 feet, then lost his grip and fell. Attempts to resuscitate the victim were fruitless.

The Kanab Zipline carries passengers up to 350 feet in the air, reaching speeds of up to 35 mph. Its operator says it’s not uncommon for riders to rebound away from the final platform because of their speed, but they are typically able to land the second time around.

Justin Barnes, general manager at Kanab, says the incident shocked other employees. “We have a 100-percent safety record, safety always comes first, so we are working with the authorities to investigate why this accident happened,” Barnes told the Deseret News.

Utah’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating the incident. •


About Author

Troy Hawks contributes to Adventure Park Insider, Ski Area Management, and a variety of other publications and websites. He has held editorial positions at business magazines serving outdoor sports and recreation as well as manufacturing and textiles. Most recently he was communications manager for the National Ski Areas Association and editor of the NSAA Journal. He also serves as a communications consultant for several clients. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, he now lives in Denver, Colo.

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