Police Announce Cause of Deadly Zipline Accident in Maui

Investigators with the Maui Police Department have released details and identified the cause of a fatal zipline accident at Piiholo Ranch Zipline earlier this month where a worker fell to her death, according to KHON News.

Cause of the Fatal Fall

Authorities say that zipline employee Patricia “Trish” Rabellizsa, 29, was killed in a 150 foot fall on May 1 at the Piiholo Ranch Zipline in the Makawao area of Maui. Police have concluded an investigation into the cause of Rabelliza’s death and have released the following details:

  • Rabelliza was working on a zipline platform when a zipliner entered the area traveling at a high rate of speed.
  • The zipliner struck springs at the end of the zipline and was propelled backwards.
  • Rabelliza attempted to grab onto the zipliner to keep her from going back up the line but instead both the zipliner and Rabelliza were pulled away from the platform.
  • Rabellizsa was able to hold onto the zipliner briefly before losing her grip and falling to her death.

Authorities say Rabellizsa was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into the accident.

Workplace Fall Injury Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fall injuries are one of the most common workplace hazards in all occupational settings. In fact, in 2009 an estimated 605 workers were killed and 212,760 workers were seriously injured by falls to the same or lower level.

Some of the circumstances that frequently lead to fall injuries include slippery, clutter or unstable walking/working surfaces; unprotected edges; floor holes; unsafely positioned ladders; and misused fall protection. The construction industry has routinely ranked for the highest frequency of fall-related worker fatalities.

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