September 22nd, 2011
11:23 AM ET

One killed, one injured as zip line collapses in Hawaii

One man was killed and another seriously injured as they tested a zip line on Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday.

The man who was killed, a 36-year-old from Maui, was about halfway across the 2,300-foot line above a stream bed when a tower holding up one end of line collapsed. He plunged 200 feet into the rocky stream bed and died at the scene. The injured worker, a 35-year-old from Ohio, fell about 30 feet from the collapsing tower and was in critical condition at Hilo Medical Center, according to a statement from the Hawaii Police Department.

The two men were working on a new course at the zip line facility just outside Hilo when the accident occurred, their employer, Experiential Resources Inc. of Maui, said in a statement distributed by On its website, the company bills itself as "the global leader in the designing and building of adventure courses, canopy tours and zip line courses."

The company that owns the zip line, Lava Hotline, told CNN affiliate KHON-TV that all lines at the facility would be closed pending an investigation.

“The course is being shut down for the next two weeks while we do an inspection and make sure that everything is totally safe,” company owner Gary Marrow was quoted as saying.  “It’s been a really difficult day.”

“We will conduct a careful, thorough review to determine all of the facts in this case. We need to know exactly what happened and why," Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi said in a statement on

Audrey Hidano, deputy director of the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, told CNN affiliate HawaiiNewsNow that zip line operators face little state regulation.

"It's not like a construction contractor. There's no licensing. If anything they register it as a business, pay your general excise taxes, pay your unemployment insurance and all that, but I don't believe there is a license involved in this," she said.

Any government regulation of zip lines would require legislative approval, she said.

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Filed under: Hawaii • Travel
soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. casey anthony

    such sad news for doing something unsafe

    September 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      zip it

      September 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. steve

    i cut the zip cord. sorry, i thought they were done with it.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigpoppi

      wow, real mature dick

      September 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • bush012


      September 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mikey D

    Wow, that sucks. Poor guy. You would think they'd just run a harness holding a weighted bag or something for test runs, right?

    September 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoreSnow

      Ya think? Reminds me of when they tested the new elevated train to JFK airport. They used a live operator up front and tons of cinder blocks in back. When the operator came to a sudden stop, the blocks all slid forward and crushed the guy. Smart, huh?

      September 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • davidmij

      Exactly, If they were using people to test it then this is just a canidate for the Darwin awards. I've always wanted to try the zip line thing. Guess I'll have to rethink it now that I know just anyone can put them up.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |

    ZIP edee dooda Zip de day... my oh my what a terrible day...

    September 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      plenty of sunshine didnt come his way i guess

      September 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. himalaya2

    ...put yourself in harm's way...

    September 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lead

    Part of the new Social Security reform. Extreme sports for senior citizens.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jerry

    Wow, someone died and someone was seriously hurt and most of the comments were jokes. These people were someones loved one, a son a brother a husband a father. If you don't have something kind to say just stay out and pick the wings off of fly's

    September 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • X

      This guys died doing a dangerous activity, I (and obviously everyone else besides you on this post) have no sympathy or compassion for people who put themselves in harm's way and end up dying from it.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • That Guy

      And your point is? People act like human life is so damn valuable. If that was so, then people wouldn't intentionally put themselves in potentially life-threatening situations. Besides there are almost 7 billion of us now. A little culling of the herd is necessary to prevent resource over-taxation.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SoSad

      Thank you Jerry! You're right, I am related to the Ohio man and we are very worried right now and very saddened by the loss of his co worker. We appreciate your kind words!!

      September 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Conor Safbom

      He was the father of 4 with his family in Oregon. He was also the father of my cousin's son.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott

    My wife wants to go to Hawaii and do this while there. I just showed her the story, especially the part about "little regulation". She's having second thoughts.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice of Reason

      You're more likely (MUCH MORE) to die on the plane ride over there.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MM

    2300 ft? That's almost 1/2 mile. Sounds more like a movie stunt.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ELH

    Having seen some zip line anchorages up close, I suspect that there was no qualified structural engineer in charge of the design of this one. Those that I have seen are obviously not "designed" and constructed by a qualified professional rigger. Inadequate back guying and minimal cross-bracing on the anchorage tower, Grade 2 hardware (Grade 5 should be mandatory), no reinforcing washers or locking hardware, cable terminations using oversized clamps, clamps not installed in a back-to-back sequence, no anti-chafe thimbles on cable terminations, open-pattern eye bolts (forged eyebolts should be mandatory).

    It is a wonder that more injuries and deaths have not happened on zip line installations.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. winston smith

    I've been on zip lines in Costa Rica that went 2000+ feet... it was fun. It looked well built, but who knows. The main one was in Fortuna, and was the biggest in the country. I assume they had to make it to some safety standard, because it was very popular and there were no accidents recorded. However, that huge slide at the hot springs, on the other hand...

    September 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |

    the problem was the jagged rocks... the zip line was not responsible...

    September 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • That Guy

      Yeah, someone needs to roundup and prosecute those godless rocks!

      September 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert

    There are standards for tis kind of construction (ACCT Organization). (type & size of bolts, cables, anchorage, harnesses, etc.) In most places, they are regulated like amusement rides and must be designed and signed off by a Professional Engineer. And for the most part ziplines are safe.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. geraldine Drewlo

    Very sad indeed. I hope he was a saved Christian.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Boss Hogg

    At least he died doing what he loved. I am sure there are worse ways to go like...

    September 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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