Joaquin Romero La Jolla Zip line operator falls 70ft to his death sacrificing his life for woman after believing the two would plunge to their deaths while holding on to a harness.
A Southern California zip line worker died on Monday, two days after falling 70 feet while trying to help a customer out of their harness after becoming stranded on a ride.
According to the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office, 34-year-old Joaquin Romero died of multiple blunt force injuries he sustained while working on the receiving platform of a zip line on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley on Saturday.
Romero was helping a woman on a La Jolla Zip Zoom Zip Line platform get hooked on the slipline when she began to slide down the line, a witness told KSWB. He reportedly grabbed the woman’s harness to keep her from sliding but was pulled onto the line with her, and they both dangled dozens of feet above the ground.
Fearing they would both fall due to their combined weight, Romero let go of the harness and sacrificed himself for the woman’s safety, the witness told KSWB.
A zip line usually has the capacity to hold 250 pounds, with a minimum of 65 pounds.
16 people die every year from zip lines
Not immediately clear is how the female zip line rider slipped out of her harness.
‘Paramedics transported [Romero] to the Sharp Memorial Hospital Emergency Department (ED) via helicopter,’ the coroner said in a report cited by the San Diego Union-Tribune. ‘He arrived pulseless and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated.’
‘Following admission, [Romero] was diagnosed with multiple blunt force injuries,’ the report continued. ‘The decedent was given a poor prognosis and family decided to place him on comfort care measures which were administered until his death was pronounced on 11/01/2021.’
Normal Contreras, tribal chairwoman with the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, told KSWB that the tribe has extended their ‘sincere condolences to our employee and his family for their loss.’
‘Like any employer, we pride ourselves on having a safe working environment and a safe and enjoyable experience for our customers,’ she told the outlet. ‘Given the circumstances of the accident, the Tribe is conducting an in-depth and comprehensive investigation, in coordination and cooperation with federal and state authorities.’
‘Until this investigation is completed, we won’t be able to provide any further comment on this incident. We ask that you join us in keeping our employee and his family in our prayers,’ she continued.
Approximately 16 people die every year from ziplines. According to KSWB, La Jolla offers three different choices of ziplines, ranging from 300 to 2,700 feet and reaching speeds of up to 55 mph.
According to the Union-Tribune, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation.