CHIANG MAI – Police Maj. Gen. Pacha Rattanapat, deputy commander of police in northern Thailand, said yesterday that police will press charges of negligence resulting in the death of others against two Flying Squirrels Zip-line employees, according to Khoasod News.
The Sunday incident came about three months after a 44-year-old Chinese tourist fell to her death from a zip-line operated by another company in Chiang Mai.
Amphika Masanong, assistant manager of Flying Squirrels, said the incident took place after 32-year-old Wang Qi and another person on the tour were placed together for a zipline ride, which is usually reserved for one person at a time.
Staff decided to put the pair together, Amphika said, because another tourist could not make it to the end of the line, and the staff determined the deceased didn’t weigh enough to reach the platform on her own.
Just as she was coming to the platform, the tourist started to panic and flapped her arms about, Amphika said, preventing staff from catching her in time. She came to a halt at the end of the line, Amphika said, speculating the sudden stop must have snapped her neck.
She said the company only learned yesterday from the autopsy report that 32-year-old Wang Qi died of a broken neck, saying they had no intention of distorting information.
“There was no visible wound on her body at the time, and she looked pale. We thought she was in shock, or she was about to feint, so we applied first aid and called the ambulance,” Amphika said.
Amphika said their zipline equipment has a high safety standard and that the death was actually due to the carelessness of two employees, 31-year-old Taweesin Pongpanasawat and 23-year-old Athiwat Orkha.
The two employees let Wang ride the zipline while another person was on the same zipline, causing them to collide and Wang falling.
The two employees, Taweesin and Athiwat, have been accused of being careless, causing death to other people.
Police Major General Montree Sambunnanon, commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police, told City News in Chiang Mai the owners of 14 companies providing zip-line adventures in four districts of Chiang Mai will be summoned to be join a safety briefing to prevent the same incidents happening again.
According to City News Montree Piyakul of Chiang Mai Provincial Office of Tourism and Sports, there are no current zipline safety standards laws despite the number of zipline adventures in the country. However, Zipline companies will now have to adjust their safety standards by April 24, 2016, when new safety regulations come into effect.
Another fatal accident at Skyline Adventure zip-line company took place June 29 in Chiang Mai. The indecent as initially withheld from the media because it coincided with the arrival of junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was touring Chiang Mai province at the time. Local authorities did not want “negative news” to emerge during his trip.
In July, a Chinese woman and American woman were seriously injured in a head-on zip-line collision at a popular zip-line attraction in Chiang Mai’s Mae Kam Pong district.
Flying Squirrels will be shut down for three days starting Wednesday, Adul said, while Skyline Adventure has returned to business after a brief suspension.
By Teeranai Charuvastra