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Man killed on ropes course in Orlando, FL


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http://www.wesh.com/news/man-falls-30-feet-from-ropes-course-at-artegon-marketplace-officials-say/30391834

ORLANDO, Fla. —A man was killed in a 30-foot fall from the Sky Trail ropes course at the new Artegon Marketplace mall Wednesday evening, according to Orlando fire officials.

 

The man was pronounced dead at Dr. Phillips Hospital.

 

According to Mark Baratelli from The Daily City, emergency responders administered CPR on the man and then took him away on a stretcher. A pool of blood could be seen on the ground.

 

The cause of the fall is not known at this point, and the identity of the victim has not yet been released.

 

Artegon Marketplace opened on International Drive on Nov. 20, replacing the former Festival Bay Mall.

 

According to its Facebook and Twitter accounts, the Sky Trail features an adventure ropes course, two zip line connections, a "quick jump" and a ropes course for kids.

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-sky-trail-artegon-mall-fall-20141224-story.html

A man in his early 50s died Wednesday after he fell about 30 feet onto a concrete floor at the Artegon Marketplace Sky Trail ropes course, according to Orlando police.

 

Orlando Fire Rescue was called to the shopping mall in the 5200 block of International Drive at about 5:15 p.m. after the man fell while on the indoor course.

 

It's not clear how the incident happened. His name was not released. Orlando police is handling the investigation.

 

Artegon Marketplace, a 1.1 million square foot shopping center on International Drive, opened about a month ago and is formerly the Festival Bay Mall.

 

The Sky Trail features ropes courses, zip lines and a smaller course for children, according to its website.

 

The mall has artists and craft stores coupled with larger retailers such as Bass Pro Shops.

 

This looks to be a Ropes Course Inc installation. Anyone know for sure? I haven't heard of any accident on one of their attractions ever! Curious to know what happened. Attractions Magazine has a pretty good video of it here:

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Edited by robbalvey
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Crap. The story has been updated. This isn't looking good...

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-sky-trail-artegon-mall-fall-20141224-story.html

A52-year-old man died Wednesday after he fell about 30 feet onto a concrete floor at the Artegon Marketplace Sky Trail ropes course, according to the Orlando Police Department.

 

Orlando Fire Rescue was called to the shopping mall in the 5200 block of International Drive at about 5:15 p.m. after Robert Belvoir fell while on the indoor course.

 

He was taken to Dr. Phillips hospital where he was pronounced dead, Fire Rescue officials said.

 

Orlando police Lt. Lovetta Quinn-Henry said Belvoir was in a harness, but it somehow came disconnected from the track. He was the only person on the course at the time, she said.

 

Belvoir was at the mall with his daughter, who witnessed the ordeal, a family member said.

 

“He was enjoying the day with his daughter,” said Marty Jones, the daughter’s step-father. “He was a very good guy. He was very much loved.”

 

Jones declined further comment.

 

Artegon Marketplace, a 1.1 million-square-foot shopping center on International Drive, opened about a month ago and is formerly the Festival Bay Mall.

 

The Sky Trail features a ropes course, zip lines and a smaller course for children, according to its website.

 

The mall has artists and craft stores coupled with larger retailers such as Bass Pro Shops.

 

FB Orlando Acquisition Company owns the mall. It said in a statement on its Facebook page that it is working with Orlando police.

 

“We extend our condolences and prayers to the family,” it said in a statement.

 

The former Festival Bay Mall opened in 2002, but never was able to fill more than half its space. The new developers bought the mall in 2011 and changed its themes.

 

And here's the version from Wesh 2 News. Still trying to figure out exactly what they mean by this...

 

http://www.wesh.com/news/man-falls-30-feet-from-ropes-course-at-artegon-marketplace-officials-say/30391834

 

"We had of couple of people in line, and all of the sudden we just heard everyone screaming in the mall," said Subway employee James Walton.

 

Police said Belvoir was in a harness, but it came undone.

 

"According to the employees there, they actually did hook him up, so he was still hooked on his harness, but from the little thing that it goes into, is what it came out of," said Lovetta Quinn-Henry with the Orlando Police Department.

 

It's confusing if this is a mechanical fault (which the first report implies) or an error with the suit-up (which the second report *kind-of* implies.)

Edited by robbalvey
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Such a shame, especially on Christmas Eve. If it's like Dollywood's Adventure Mountain there may have been some kind of break in the track or outward dent, but it's all speculative at this point.

 

Sad day.

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The extremely vague description from the Subway employee makes it sound like the caribiner that connects from the harness to the rope may be the culprit. In that case, I feel there was a very good chance that the user was messing with it. If the 'thing it goes in to' is the part where the rope connects to the structure, then that sounds like worse news as far as the attraction is concerned.

 

That being said, it's hard for me to speculate because I have not been on one of these amusement devices...I have only rock climbed and gone to rock gyms.

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That being said, it's hard for me to speculate because I have not been on one of these amusement devices...I have only rock climbed and gone to rock gyms.

I've done several, and I feel like they are one of the safest attractions around with what appears to be quite a few fail safe measures in place. Was really hoping for a more accurate description of what happened. You would think they must know if it was a suit-up issue or a mechanical failure just by how he was suited up when he was on the ground.

 

Hoping we get some more details on this one, soon.

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With this just opening, my first thought was the new employees there may have made some big boo-boos. The safety record for these attractions is supremely good because, look, carabiners and lines don't actually just fall apart. But that's speculation, and, yeah.

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I wonder if any other ropes courses are closed right now due to this accident? Very scary as I throw me and KT on these all the time and when you're hooked up it feels very safe. If this is truly a failure of the mechanism it's a big deal. If this was a minimum wage employee that put the guy in the harness wrong it's upsetting but not attraction altering. I would be pretty concerned going out over the edge of the cruise ships that have these courses until the investigation is complete.

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Wonder how that happened, does this one require you to unhook yourself in between obstacles? That's the only thing I can think of happening.

An operator hooks / unhooks you from the course in three locations - the entrance, the exit, and between the rail and zip line sections. This particular installation looks like it has one of their Sky Rail runs, which are like zip lines but don't require the guest to transfer as they're part of the normal rail system.

 

So, in this case, the only place where the guy would have been hooked into the rail is at the entrance to the attraction.

 

If the carabiner wasn't hooked properly by him or the operator for whatever reason or it failed, he would have fell and the wheelie thing with the slack line would have been left dangling from wherever he was last. If the rail failed or the operator wouldn't have inserted the wheelie thing into the rail properly, he and the slack line would have fallen together as a unit.

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New article implies that this was a mechanical/engineering fault especially with the quotes from Ropes Course Inc owner:

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-mark-nation-mall-death-robert-belvoir-20141230-story.html

 

The accident happened on the Sky Rail, a zipline-like ride that is part of the course. The ropes course reopened Tuesday but the Sky Rail remained closed and probably will not reopen, said Jim Liggett, who owns the manufacturing company Ropes Courses Inc.

 

Liggett's company has manufactured about 600 courses worldwide. About 10 of those have Sky Rails, with aluminum or steel rails instead of cables. All of those were closed following the accident and have not reopened, Liggett said.

 

"We're going to inspect every single one of them and make sure everyone is safe and this can't happen again," Liggett said

 

Liggett said he thinks he knows what caused the accident but declined to give details.

 

"We were able to isolate this. It was so obvious once we figured it out, it was like `Holy crap,'" Liggett said. "It's just a weird bunch of circumstances all happened and we have got to make sure it doesn't happen again."

 

Liggett said about 10 million people a year go through his company's courses.

 

"We've been building ropes courses for 26 years and this is the first accident we've ever had like this," he said. "It affected our company from the ground up…Everybody thought it was their fault and we're all just a mess."

 

This is crazy. Imagine if this accident had happened on one of the cruise ships! Here is Kristen on the Sky Rail at IAAPA:

image.jpg.459418fcbc6d07e2f6f568f2f51c287d.jpg

Edited by robbalvey
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It's great to hear that they found the root of the problem. It's especially interesting to me that they were able to find the incident pertained to one element in particular...can't say I'm familiar with this one. The Sky Rail portion does seem different it its method of attaching onto the harness. I wonder how it works.

 

That said, it's also a relief to know that only a small portion of ropes courses have this element.

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In 1999 I was on vacation with my family at a resort in Utah when I was involved in a ziplining accident due to operator error. He didn't suit me up right which caused me to fall about 5 seconds into my ride down to the parking lot below. Years later, in order to put the accident behind me I forced myself to go on it again.

 

The reason I bring this up is that I don't think I would've gone back on that zipline had the accident not been operator error. To me mechanical error is a lot more terrifying than operator error.

 

Even though I don't do things like ropes courses or ziplines because I'm afraid of reliving bad memories, I would still be comfortable with my friends and loved ones doing them (including attractions built by this company) because of their incredibly high safety record. Of course I'd prefer them to wait until the investigation is complete.

 

Thoughts for the man and his family as well as to all who witnessed this tragedy.

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New article implies that this was a mechanical/engineering fault especially with the quotes from Ropes Course Inc owner:

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-mark-nation-mall-death-robert-belvoir-20141230-story.html

 

The accident happened on the Sky Rail, a zipline-like ride that is part of the course. The ropes course reopened Tuesday but the Sky Rail remained closed and probably will not reopen, said Jim Liggett, who owns the manufacturing company Ropes Courses Inc.

 

Liggett's company has manufactured about 600 courses worldwide. About 10 of those have Sky Rails, with aluminum or steel rails instead of cables. All of those were closed following the accident and have not reopened, Liggett said.

 

"We're going to inspect every single one of them and make sure everyone is safe and this can't happen again," Liggett said

 

Liggett said he thinks he knows what caused the accident but declined to give details.

 

"We were able to isolate this. It was so obvious once we figured it out, it was like `Holy crap,'" Liggett said. "It's just a weird bunch of circumstances all happened and we have got to make sure it doesn't happen again."

 

Liggett said about 10 million people a year go through his company's courses.

 

"We've been building ropes courses for 26 years and this is the first accident we've ever had like this," he said. "It affected our company from the ground up…Everybody thought it was their fault and we're all just a mess."

 

This is crazy. Imagine if this accident had happened on one of the cruise ships! Here is Kristen on the Sky Rail at IAAPA:

Especially considering some of these installations have some pretty perilous moments:

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It's great to hear that they found the root of the problem. It's especially interesting to me that they were able to find the incident pertained to one element in particular...can't say I'm familiar with this one. The Sky Rail portion does seem different it its method of attaching onto the harness. I wonder how it works.

 

According to their 2014 catalogue -

The Sky Rail product is a rigid zip track that rides like a zip line but with many advantages. Sky Rail works within the track system of the standard Sky Trail line of products so guests can experience a self-guided zip tour without unhooking at any time.

 

Apparently another operator IS required for every Sky Rail track, presumably to push the guest off. But I guess the element is designed to effectively attach onto the points of the course like any other obstacle.

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^ I don't think this is correct. Every "Sky Rail" zip line we've ever seen, including the one at their booth at IAAPA, never had an additional operator. In fact, they made a big deal out of the way the system was designed so that you didn't need an operator stationed at those locations. When you go onto the zip line, the cable on our harness attaches into whatever the mechanism is that operates the zipline, which is slightly different the rest of the ropes course.

 

This is just PURELY speculations from having watched Kristen and other people do the Sky Rail portion of their ropes courses, but I'm guessing that whatever the system that connects you to the zipline system, this guy must have gone through a series of maneuvers that was probably like a "1 in 10 million" chance of happening, and somehow dislodged from the system, or maybe never connected to it in the first place.

 

I'm with Xmeister on this where I feel a mechanical error is FAR more frightening than operator or user error. I love the Ropes Course Inc attractions and have done many of them myself and have let Kristen to even more. I'm never one to not ride something due to another accident, but I gotta be honest, I would most certainly be checking and double checking things and certainly paying a bit more attention the next time either of us went on one. And I'm not sure I'd put her on one that goes out over the edge of a cruise ship or a canyon cliff.

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This is just PURELY speculations from having watched Kristen and other people do the Sky Rail portion of their ropes courses, but I'm guessing that whatever the system that connects you to the zipline system, this guy must have gone through a series of maneuvers that was probably like a "1 in 10 million" chance of happening, and somehow dislodged from the system, or maybe never connected to it in the first place.

Based on the comments from the guy from Ropes Courses Inc (specifically the "weird bunch of circumstances" line), I'm leaning more toward this idea as well. I'm a little less apprehensive now that we know that the issue is isolated to the Sky Rail sections and not the normal obstacles.

 

Ropes courses like these are my absolute favorite non-coaster attractions and I really hope that this incident doesn't stop "normal" amusement parks in the United States from building new courses.

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So is this in the same building that was Festival Bay or a new one? When I lived in Orlando I always thought Festival Bay had such wasted potential and I gotta imagine that this can't be good for what has replaced it.

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^ Yes, the Artegon Marketplace is the re-imagined Festival Bay. That place seriously seems cursed. It can't catch a break. The new mall just opened at the end of November and already this happened. It's like someone really doesn't want that mall to ever be successful!

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I hope they get this sorted out. I'm not a "ropes course person," but I know they're popular with families (and I did like the now defunct Adventure Mountain at Dollywood).

 

At least they seem to have isolated the problem.

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I would like to see what had to happen to come unhooked. I know when we did a ropes course on the Scandi Tour last year the zip line was a cable and there was no way to come unhooked unless you unbolted something or finished. It was a little terrifying to be 150 up and attaching yourself to the zip line. There was no attendant to help.

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