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Family of Canadian Man Killed Ziplining in Chiang Mai Calls for Change

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FRUITVALE – The family of a Canadian man who died in a zipline accident in Chiang Mai, Thailand last month is hoping the tragedy will help spark safety changes in the industry.

Spencer Donaldson was clipped in for a five-kilometre ride at Flight of the Gibbon in Chiang Mai on April 13, when he stepped off the platform and fell 12 metres to his death as his fiancee watched in horror.

Donaldson was remembered by friends and family as an outgoing person who loved life at a memorial service in his hometown of Fruitvale British Columbia over the weekend.

However, Donaldson’s family believes there is evidence that cable clamps on the ride were not installed properly.

“We are very happy to have the support of the Thai government and local authorities to implement change and accountability that will make safety in ziplining equal to other countries,” said Donaldson’s family in a statement.

The accident remains under investigation.

Part of the cable equipment used by Spencer Donaldson the day of his fatal accident.

Donaldson’s family isn’t the only one raising concerns about the safety of overseas adventure sports such as ziplines.

Liberal MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones told Global News the federal government has since updated its travel advisories on Thailand with a warning about adventure sports.

“It’s very important for people to understand, in adventure sports, international standards are not necessarily adhered to,” she said.

“We understand how important that is to Spencer’s family and it is to us too.”

Donaldson’s family has hired Kevin Smith, a Whistler zipline operator, to investigate the circumstances around their son’s death.

The family has also begun collecting donations for the Spencer Donaldson Legacy Fund, which will support educational opportunities for underprivileged kids.

Donations can be made at any branch of Kootenay Savings Credit Union, or by e-transfer to donaldsonlegacyfund@gmail.com.


Global News Canada

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