They Dangled Stories High in the Air, Then He Let Go

Worker is said to have sacrificed himself to save rider at Calif. zip line attraction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2021 7:40 AM CDT
Friend: Zip Line Worker Fell to His Death Trying to Save Rider
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Thanaphong Araveeporn)

The final action of a staffer at a California zip line attraction was a fatal one, but it also appears to have been heroic. FOX 5 reports that 34-year-old Joaquin Romero was working at the La Jolla Zip Zoom Zipline, located on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley, on Saturday when something went amiss while he was trying to hook a woman onto the line on a zip line platform. A witness says the woman began to prematurely slide off the platform, which is when Romero grabbed onto her harness to stop her.

Per the witness, Romero ended up sliding out with her, the two of them ending up far enough away from the platform that they couldn't get back, dangling dozens of feet above the ground. A close friend tells the station that Romero apparently sensed that, due to the weight of two bodies, the woman would fall, so Romero let go. According to the medical examiner's office and local authorities, Romero fell about 70 feet and suffered multiple blunt-force injuries, reports the San Diego Union Tribune.

The coroner's report notes that Romero "arrived pulseless" at the hospital, where CPR was initiated, per People. Romero "was given a poor prognosis and family decided to place him on comfort care measures" until he died on Monday. "We are saddened and heartbroken over the recent tragic accident involving one of our employees," Norma Contreras, tribal chairwoman of the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, said in a statement, per FOX 5, adding that the tribe would be working with state and federal authorities in "an in-depth and comprehensive investigation." (More zip line stories.)

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