UPDATE: Woman Falls 200 Feet in Fatal Maui Zipline Incident

May 1, 2014, 12:47 PM HST · Updated May 2, 11:34 AM
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Fatal Maui Zipline incident. Maui Now graphic.

Fatal Maui Zipline incident. Maui Now graphic.

By Wendy Osher

(UPDATE: 7:10 p.m., 2:08 p.m. 5/1/2014)

A Maui woman fell approximately 150-feet to her death during a zipline accident near the Piʻiholo Ranch this morning, fire officials said.

Representatives with the Piʻiholo Ranch Zipline have since posted a comment on their Facebook page expressing their condolences and identifying the woman as an employee, Patricia “Trish” Rabellizsa.

“The Piʻiholo Zipline Ohana expresses its condolences and sympathy to those involved in today’s tragic event. We especially offer our deepest aloha and prayers to the family and friends of our co-worker Patricia “Trish” Rabellizsa at this difficult time. We are working in full cooperation with the Maui Police Department’s ongoing investigation.”

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Maui police have since confirmed the woman’s identity and said she was 29, from Kīhei, and worked for the company.

The incident was reported at 9:51 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in a gulch area with rough terrain.

Rescue efforts were hampered due to the difficult terrain, vegetation and tree cover, according to Maui Fire Captain Lionel Montalvo.

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According to Montalvo, fire crews hiked on foot to the unresponsive female, who was airlifted back up to the ridge.

According to department reports, fire crews from Engine 5 out of Makawao were on scene at 10:07 a.m., followed by response from the department’s Air 1 helicopter and Rescue 10 out of Kahului at 10:11 a.m.

The area was cleared by 1:20 p.m., but Maui police remained on scene at last report as they investigate the incident, said Montalvo.

Maui police have classified the incident as a fatal miscellaneous accident and say the cause of death has not been determined pending autopsy results.

Previous zipline accidents include the following:

  • December 31, 2012: A 25-year-old man was transported to the hospital on New Year’s Eve after falling 45-feet from a zip line in West Maui. According to Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga, the man used a rope to slide down one of the ziplines at Skyline Eco Adventures, when he got stuck midway. He held on for as long as he could, but eventually fell, said Mainaga.
  • August 5, 2012:  A 60-year-old man visiting from Nebraska was treated for injuries sustained on a Maui zipline on August 5, 2012.  Authorities say the individual was stuck on the line, and was injured when he was hit by an employee attempting to assist him at the Flyin Hawaiian Zipline in Waikapū.  Officials say the victim suffered a laceration to the back of his head and pain to his shoulder.  Both the victim and employee made it to a tower next to the Kahili Golf Course where they were airlifted with rescue personnel to safety, authorities said.
  • June 11, 2012: A 43-year-old woman from Fremont, California was airlifted to safety after suffering an injury while ziplining at the Tropical Plantation Zipline in Waikapū.  Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the woman suffered a femur fracture to her left leg as she was coming down the zipline and landing on the tower.  The injury was considered life-threatening and the woman was airlifted off the tower to a landing zone in front of the plantation, authorities said.
  • September 21, 2011: A Maui man who was fatally injured in a ziplining accident on Hawai’i Island was identified as Ted Callaway, 36 of Lahaina.  Callaway fell 200 feet to his death while testing a line at a course in Pauka’a.  Another worker fell 30 feet from a collapsed platform and suffered critical injuries.  He was identified as 43-year-old Curtis Wright, of Miamisburg, Ohio.  Both men were employed by a Maui company that builds and maintains ziplines.  Experiential Resources Inc. (ERi) called the incident a “construction accident,” saying the company was working on a new course at the Lava Hotline just outside of Hilo, Hawai’i when the accident occurred.  The two men had just made an adjustment to the line and were in the process of testing it, according to police. Callaway had traveled about halfway across the 2,300-foot span when a tower collapse.

In October 2012, the Hawaiʻi State Auditor released a report stating that regulation of the zipline and canopy tours was not warranted, and furthermore, that the state was incapable of oversight due to staffing, money, and expertise issues.

(ORIGINAL POST/UPDATE: 5/1/14)

Criminal investigators with the Maui Police Department are on the scene of a fatal zipline accident at the Piʻiholo Ranch Zipline in Makawao, sources tell Maui Now.

As of noon today, the zipline company was notifying guests with reservations that they are cancelling tours for the remainder of the day and will not be doing tours until further notice.

The woman, who was reportedly in her 20s fell an estimated 200 feet to her death, according to our sources.

Lieutenant William Juan was unable to confirm the extent of injuries when we contacted the department earlier this morning saying, “There was an incident at a Makawao zipline, however, no confirmation of injuries at this time.”

The Piʻiholo Ranch Zipline is located on Piʻiholo Road in Makawao.

The incident occurred sometime before 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 1, 2014.

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