A California zipline worker has died a hero, sacrificing himself to save a woman dangling helplessly.
On Oct. 30, 34-year-old Joaquin Romero worked at La Jolla Zip Zoom Zipline when a woman he was harnessing slipped from the platform.
She was only half belted in when she slipped from the platform and into the zipline. To keep her from plunging, Romero grabbed onto her, and they both ended up sliding out on the zipline.
At first, Romero tried to hold onto the woman’s harness, but the additional weight of Romero’s body led them to slip further down the line.
According to the New York Post, Romero sacrificed himself because he was scared the line would break under their combined weight. However, he died two days after being evacuated to a hospital for his blunt force injuries. He fell about 30 meters.
The zipline launched in 2015 and is located on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, where riders may achieve speeds of up to 55 mph on 2,700 feet of ziplines.
The La Jolla Band of Luiseo Indians Tribe founded the campsite there in the 1930s, according to the La Jolla Zip Zoom website.
Before Romero’s death and the resultant investigation, the zipline was the area’s newest tourist draw.
“We are saddened and heartbroken over the recent tragic accident involving one of our employees at the La Jolla Zip Zoom Zipline,” said Norma Contreras, chairwoman of the La Jolla Band of Luiseo Indians. “Like any employer, we pride ourselves on having a safe working environment and a safe and enjoyable experience for our customers.”
As a result of the accident, and in collaboration with federal and state authorities, the Tribe is conducting a thorough investigation; Contreras concluded: “We ask that you join us in keeping our employee and his family in our prayers.”