DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware State Police investigators were trying to determine Thursday how a woman fell 35 feet to her death from a zip line platform at a state park.
Tina Werner, 59, of Felton, was waiting between zip lines at the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure at Lums Pond State Park in Bear on Wednesday afternoon when she tumbled from the platform, authorities said.
Werner’s daughter, Melissa Slater, described her mom as “super fun,” and “adventurous.” After traveling to Venice, Italy and taking a hot-air balloon ride, Werner had told her daughter Tuesday that riding the zip line was next.
“She was finishing her bucket list,” said Werner’s daughter, Melissa Slater.
Participants at Go Ape courses are equipped with climbing harnesses and two sets of ropes with carabiners that they unclip and clip to safety wires in sequence as they move through the trees.
The attraction in Bear spans seven acres and includes four zip lines and a variety of swings, rope ladders, bridges and trapezes.
According to the website of Go Ape, which is based in Frederick, Maryland, and operates attractions in 15 states, patrons receive a 30-minute training session before being turned loose on the course, which can take them as high as 50 feet in the air.
While participants navigate the course without direct supervision, Go Ape says its instructors are constantly patrolling the course to offer assistance and encouragement as needed.
“Waivers are signed by participants to accept responsibility for following the safety rules and advice on the course and assume all risks associated with his/her participation,” the company’s website states. “These safety rules are communicated thoroughly in a safety brief that is required of every participant before they Go Ape.”
Slater said her mom, who was visiting Lums Pond with a friend, was able to complete at least one zip line ride before falling.
“So she did do it,” said Slater, who posted a tribute on Facebook.
The Go Ape attraction opened at Lums Pond in 2013, with officials touting it as the first zip line adventure course in a state park on the East Coast.
Jeff Davis, a spokesman for Go Ape, said Thursday that the rides are inspected on a regular basis.
Davis said the Lums Pond attraction is closed for undetermined amount of time to help with the investigation, and also out of respect to Werner’s family.
“The Go Ape company is extremely saddened by this,” he said.
Park rangers and Go Ape employees performed first aid on Werner until paramedics arrived, but she was pronounced dead at Christiana Hospital. An autopsy was planned, but foul play is not suspected, authorities said.