- Associated Press - Sunday, July 5, 2015

WESTFIELD, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina lawmakers are considering whether to have a state agency study whether zip lines in the state need to be regulated after the death of a 12-year-old girl at a mountain summer camp.

The proposal was made by Rep. Ted Davis Jr., who is a cousin of the girl killed in at the YMCA’s Camp Cheerio in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But even if he wasn’t related to her, the New Hanover County Republican said he couldn’t live with himself if another child died on a zip line and he didn’t do anything.

“I realize there is human error and I realize there are accidents. But I just felt like I had to go the extra mile to make sure that these zip lines are uniformly required to get inspections and insurance, all those kinds of things,” Davis told The News & Observer of Raleigh (https://bit.ly/1fdKTz8 ).

The provision was added to a bill increasing penalties for operating amusement rides illegally.

More than two dozen commercial zip lines operate in North Carolina. No state figures are kept on how many youth camps have the rides, which allow people to go above the on pulleys attached to wires strung between platforms.



The camps point out thousands of people safely ride on zip lines every year in North Carolina. The only other death in the state found in news reports was a 17-year-old boy who died from a fall on a zip line at a church camp in Granville County in 2006.

The company that installed the zip line that broke in the fatal accident and the camp’s insurer continue to investigate what caused Bonnie Sanders Burney to fall 20 feet to the ground in June, according to the YCMA. Alleghany County Sheriff Bryan Maines said his deputies found nothing criminal contributed to the fall.

Camps want safe zip lines because they are a terrific way of building confidence to try new things and giving campers new perspectives on nature from above the ground, said N.C. Youth Camp Association Board President Adam Boyd.

“It puts children in the canopy. They are in the trees, moving through the tops of the trees, as if they belong there. They can see everything from a very different perspective that way. It’s remarkable the life you see. There is so much happening,” Boyd said. “And you don’t just feel the wind, you hear it differently, the way it blows through the leaves. It’s remarkable.”

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Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com

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