Woman killed in state park fall identified, foul play not suspected

- The woman killed after she fell from a platform at the Lums Pond State Park in Delaware has been identified as Tina Werner, 59, of Felton.

The tragedy happened at about 2:35pm Wednesday, when Werner was on the Go Ape Aerial Rope Adventure Course in the park in Bear.

Delaware State Police say Werner was standing on a platform about 35 feet above the ground, waiting to descend on a zip line.

That’s when she fell from the platform to the ground.

Go Ape employees, park rangers, and then paramedics tried first aid and advanced life-saving efforts, but Werner was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Division of Forensic Sciences will perform an autopsy.

Nobody else was injured.

Police say the investigation into what happened is still going on, but foul play is not suspected at this time.

According to The Associated Press, participants at Go Ape courses are equipped with climbing harnesses, and two sets of safety ropes with carabiners, that they clip and unclip to wires as they move through the trees. The course in Bear spans seven acres and includes four zip lines and a variety of swings, rope ladders, bridges and trapezes.

According to the website of Go Ape, which is based in Frederick, Maryland, and operates attractions in 15 states, patrons receive a 30-minute training session before being turned loose on the course, which can take them as high as 50 feet in the air.
While participants navigate the course without direct supervision, Go Ape says its instructors are constantly patrolling the course to offer assistance and encouragement as needed. 
"Waivers are signed by participants to accept responsibility for following the safety rules and advice on the course and assume all risks associated with his/her participation," the company's website states. "These safety rules are communicated thoroughly in a safety brief that is required of every participant before they Go Ape."
"She was finishing her bucket list," said Werner's daughter, Melissa Slater.
Slater said her mom, whose recent activities including traveling to Venice, Italy and taking a hot-air balloon ride, told her Tuesday night that she was going to do the zip line. 
"I wasn't surprised," said Slater, describing her mother as "super fun, adventurous, ... crazy, spontaneous."
Slater said her mom, who was visiting Lums Pond with a friend, was able to complete at least one zip line ride before falling.
"So she did do it," said Slater, who posted a tribute to her mom on her Facebook page.
The Go Ape attraction opened at Lums Pond in 2013, with officials touting it as the first zip line adventure course in a state park on the East Coast. 
Jeff Davis, a spokesman for Go Ape, said Thursday that the rides are inspected on a regular basis.
Davis said the Lums Pond attraction is closed for undetermined amount of time to help with the investigation, and also out of respect to Werner's family.
"The Go Ape company is extremely saddened by this," he said.


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