UPDATE: Man falls at zip line site
by Kellen Moore
A man was treated and released from Watauga Medical Center on Sunday after an equipment failure sent him plunging to the ground at the end of a zip line course.
The man, a visitor from Kannapolis in his 20s, stepped off a 52-foot-high platform at the end of the zip line course when the lowering device lowered him faster than normal, said Jim Wall of Sky Valley Zip Tours.
Boone Fire Department and Watauga Medics responded shortly after 4:45 p.m. to the site, located off Sky Ranch Road between Boone and Blowing Rock.
The man was taken to Watauga Medical Center and released after about two and a half hours there, Wall said. He had no broken bones or other serious injuries, Wall said.
The lowering device was immediately removed and sent to the manufacturer for testing to determine why the rapid descent occurred, Wall said in an email statement released Wednesday. The company received the equipment Wednesday and had not yet evaluated it.
An alternative manual lowering system was installed to operate the course.
Wall said he had been advised not to release the name of the manufacturer until more information had been gathered, but that the equipment was commonly used throughout the industry.
He said there was no failure on the part of the staff, management or zip line itself.
“Sky Valley Zip Tours is committed to upholding the highest standards and best practices in the industry, and the experience of each guest is taken very seriously,” the statement read. “No tours have been cancelled at this point, and the course will remain open.”
Sky Valley opened this spring and held its ribbon-cutting just last month.
Any guests with questions or concerns may call Sky Valley Zip Tour at (828) 260-3074.
READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE BELOW:
A man in his mid-20s was injured Sunday afternoon in a fall at the Sky Valley Zip Tours site, according to responders.
Boone Fire and Watauga Medics carried the injured man from the site to a waiting ambulance for transport to Watauga Medical Center. It is unclear whether the man was then transported to another hospital.
Watauga Medics Director Craig Sullivan said the man was conscious and in serious pain when medics arrived shortly after the 4:45 p.m. call.
Exactly how far the man fell is not clear. Early reports indicated that he had fallen about 50 feet, a distance Sullivan called into question.
"I find that impossible to believe with him being conscious and everything," Sullivan said.
Capt. Mike Teague of the Boone Fire Department said his responders' notes indicated that the fall was more than 35 feet.
Teague said he believed the man was being lowered from one of the platforms when the accident occurred.
"I don't think it was a freefall," he said.
Sky Valley Zip Tours, located off Sky Ranch Road between Boone and Blowing Rock, opened this spring. Representatives from the company could not be immediately reached Tuesday morning.