Chiang Mai zipline shut after death

Chiang Mai zipline shut after death

Canadian's fatal fall prompts police probe

CHIANG MAI: The Huay Kaew tambon administration organisation (TAO) yesterday issued an order for a zipline operator in Chiang Mai's Mae On district to suspend its service during safety checks and a police investigation after a Canadian tourist plunged to his death on Saturday.

The fatal incident occurred on the zipline operated by the Flight of the Gibbon Co.

Pol Col Tanandon Wittayawutthikul, Chiang Mai forensic police chief, identified the Canadian man as Spencer Charles, 25, who travelled to Thailand in a group that included his girlfriend.

They were staying at lodgings on Chang Khlan Road in Muang district of Chiang Mai.

An initial investigation found that shortly after the Canadian was released from the start of the zipline, the cable disconnected and the man plunged about 20 metres into the creek below, resulting in his death.

The police suspect the equipment was unable to hold the man's weight as they found only three cables holding the customer when there would normally be at least eight cable lines to ensure safety.

Police expect to take legal action against those who were supposed to ensure the safety of the zipline.

"We believe it was caused by negligence on the part of the operators," Pol Col Tanandon said.

Arkom Samana, chief executive of Huay Kaew TAO, said he has issued an order for the zipline operator to suspend service indefinitely until the safety inspection by the police is complete.

Speculation in the media suggested the man was over the prescribed maximum weight with a policeman saying the man weighed was around 180 kilogrammes.

However, a close family member has responded saying Charles weighed only around 125 kilogrammes.

The Flight of the Gibbon website says that people weighing more than 125 kilogrammes are not allowed to ride on the zipline.

The company's management said it will take full responsibility and offer extra compensation to the victim's family, in addition to a 1-million-baht insurance payout.

Serious injuries have occurred previously at ziplines in Thailand.

Flight of the Gibbon was temporarily shut down after three Israeli tourists were injured after colliding into one another and falling to the ground in 2016.

Another two Chinese tourists died in 2015 after falling from two separate zipline attractions. Another Chinese tourist was also injured at a similar attraction in 2016.

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