The woman who fell from the zip line platform had disconnected herself from the safety system, the attraction’s operator stated.
Everyone is given climbing harnesses and two sets of ropes with carabiners that they unclip and clip to safety wires in sequence as they move throughout the zip line.
Werner had completed the safety training and was near the end of the course whenever she fell, mentioned a spokesman from Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. Other participant witnesses had mentioned that Werner had disconnected herself from the safety system unfortunately.
There was an inspection performed, and the results were that there was nothing broken or unserviceable; everything was in good operating condition.
Go Ape is based in Frederick, Maryland, and operates attractions in 15 states. Participants receive a 30-minute training session before they are able to do the course, which can take them as high as 50 feet in the air.
Participants go through the course without direct supervision, but the instructors are constantly patrolling the course to offer assistance and encouragement as needed.
“Waivers are signed by participants to accept responsibility for following the safety rules and advice on the course and assume all risks associated with his/her participation,” which the company’s website states. The safety rules are also expressed thoroughly in a safety brief that is required for every participant to listen to before they begin the course.
Since the Go Ape attraction opened in 2013, it has been regularly inspected. Park rangers and employees performed first aid on Werner until the paramedics arrived, but she was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
According to NBC News, researchers found that the injury rate between 2009 and 2012 rose by more than 50 percent. Looking at a national database of emergency room visits, it was found that 16,850 have been injured badly enough on a zip line to visit an emergency room since 1997.
In 2012 alone, there were over 3,600 injuries, which equals to about 10 injuries a day. Most of the injuries happened whenever a person fell off or crashed into something like a tree or a zip line structure.