Woman Plunges 150 Ft. in Fatal Zipline Fall

Hawaii accident may revive effort to legislate ziplines
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2014 4:23 PM CDT
Woman Plunges 150 Ft. in Fatal Zip Line Fall
A stock image of a woman on a zip line.   (Shutterstock)

A California woman who recently moved to Maui died Thursday morning when she plunged 150 feet from a zipline, Hawaii News Now reports. Rescuers struggled to find Patricia Rabellizsa, 29, among the vegetation, tree cover, and difficult terrain found in the area of Makawao. "Where the ziplines are, they go through the gulches, so it made it kinda difficult," said a Maui Fire spokesman. "Where the body was—where the lady fell—we couldn't access it with the helicopters so they had to carry her off to the side." Rabellizsa, a zipline worker, was dead on the scene.

Her fall has revived talk about regulating Hawaii's zipline industry to protect worker safety—an effort that died in the state legislature two years ago, KHON2 reports. At the time, the state auditor found no evidence of "harm or abusive practices" in the zipline business (see the report here). State Rep. Mark Nakashima, who introduced the bill, says Rabellizsa's death may be "what it takes to get interest from the legislature." But the owner of Piiholo Ranch Zipline—where Rabellizsa worked and died—says his business follows safety guidelines and does "major inspections" twice a year. (Last year, a Guinness-Record holder died while trying to cross a river using a zipline and his ponytail.)

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