Canadian tourist falls to his death from Chiang Mai zipline after safety locks brake

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A visitor from Canada fell to his death from a zipline in the northern province of Chiang Mai on Saturday.

Thai rescue officials said the 25-year-old tourist died while riding a zipline in a forest at the popular tourist destination Mae Kam Pong. His safety locks broke, causing him to plunge more than 50 meters into a creek. He died at the scene.

Zipline operator Flight of the Gibbon said it would take full responsibility and compensate the victim’s family.

Workers at the zipline service said the safety locks broke shortly after the tourist, who reportedly weighed about 400 pounds (180 kilograms), took off from the starting point. One Hawaiian zipline operator puts its maximum weight limit at 260 pounds, or around 118 kilograms.

The operator’s website states that people weighing more than 275 pounds (125 kilograms) are not allowed to ride. It is not immediately clear why the tourist was allowed to do so.

Maj. Gen. Pichate Jiranantasin, provincial police chief, said the operator has been charged with fatal negligence for allowing such a heavy person on the ride.

Police suspect that the safety equipment could not hold his weight, adding that they found only three cables installed to hold customers, while there would normally be at least eight lines of cables to ensure safety.

Since 2016, Chiang Mai officials promised to improve safety standards of the many adventure tourism sites in the province following a string of serious or fatal accidents – including accidents at this very zipline operator.

Flight of the Gibbon was ordered a temporary shut down after three Israeli tourists were injured after colliding into one another on the zipline and falling to the ground.

The same company had also been investigated in 2017 for having some of its properties built on protected forest land.

Chiang Mai’s zipline fatalities last happened in 2015, when two Chinese tourists died after falling from two separate zipline attractions, operated by Skyline Adventure and Flying Squirrels. Another Chinese tourist was injured while riding the Flying Squirrels’ zipline in 2016.

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