Canadian tourist falls to death from zipline in Chiang Mai: Reports

Canadian tourist falls to death from zipline in Chiang Mai: Reports

Flight Of The Gibbon
Flight Of The Gibbon operates ziplines tours in Thailand. (Photo: Facebook/Flight Of The Gibbon)

CHIANG MAI: A 25-year-old tourist from Canada died on Saturday (Apr 13) after falling from a zipline in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

According to Khaosod English, police said that the Canadian's safety locks broke while he was riding on the zipline in Mae On district, plunging more than 50m into a creek. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Chiang Mai forensic police chief Tanandon Wittayawutthikul identified the man as Spencer Charles, who travelled to Thailand with his girlfriend as part of a group, according to the Bangkok Post

Employees of Flight Of The Gibbon, the operator of the zipline, said that the safety locks broke shortly after the tourist took off from the starting point.

"We believe (the incident) was caused by negligence on the part of the operators," said Mr Wittayawutthikul. 

Only three cables were found to be installed, said police, compared to the norm of at least eight cables to ensure customers' safety. 

Initial reports also said police suspected the accident to have been caused by the safety equipment not being able to hold the tourist's weight. The operator's website states that participants "cannot be more than 125kg". 

In an update on Sunday, Mr Jiranantasin said that no charges had been filed yet in the ongoing police investigation, pending a full autopsy and equipment inspection reports. It was reported earlier that the operator had been charged with fatal negligence over the incident. 

“I’ve ordered them to speed up the investigation as much as is possible,” he said, adding that investigators remain unable to file any charges.

Local administrators have ordered the company to suspend operations, pending the investigation.

A representative of Flight Of The Gibbon, Kriangkrai Seeha-amphai, told authorities that staff members perform safety checks every morning, and that the zipline had passed an engineering inspection in March.

Fight Of The Gibbon's popular zipline in Chiang Mai has had similar incidents in the past. 

In 2016, three Israeli tourists, including a seven-year-old boy, sustained serious injuries after crashing into each other and falling. In 2015, an American tourist and a Chinese tourist collided into each other and were seriously hurt, with the American being blinded in one eye.

Also in 2015, two Chinese tourists died in separate incidents at different operators in Chiang Mai. 

A 44-year-old man died at the Skyline Adventure following a fall, while a 32-year-old woman broke her neck and was killed after colliding with another person while on a zipline at the Flying Squirrels attraction in Mae Rim district. 

Source: CNA/ic(rw)

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