Incident alert intended to prevent further zip line failures


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation into the accident continues. Image: Supplied.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has issued an incident alert in light of a man tragically falling to his death from Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours’ zipline at Cape Tribulation, on October 22.

Dean Sanderson, an Adelaide father-of-three, fell 16m from the recreational cable into rainforest alongside wife Shannon, 48, who survived with spinal and shoulder injuries.


WHS says the purpose of the safety alert is to inform zip line owners, operators, engineers and riggers of the risk of failure of zip line terminations and to provide guidance to help prevent the failure of zip lines.

“A zip line consists of a steel wire rope that is suspended between two points, along which one or more people travel while suspended from trolleys. Zip lines are also known as flying foxes.

“This safety alert provides information on zip line terminations and does not apply to other suspended rope applications,” it says.

Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours has closed its zipline until the end of March and subject to the appropriate approvals is hoping to be back in operation on April 1.

Jungle Surfing has continued to assist WHS with its investigation, which continues.

In terms of contributing factors (to the incident), it says: “It appears that the rope grip type termination at the top end of the zip line failed, allowing the zip line to disengage suddenly and causing both patrons to hit the ground.”

It was also revealed that from July 2014 to November 2019, WHSQ was notified of 11 incidents of people sustaining an injury falling from a zipline or high-rope activity. WHSQ has issued four statutory notices across all industries relating to the risk management of such incidents.

View full incident alerts at Worksafe QLD and eSAFE incident alert.

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