One man was killed and another was critically injured Wednesday morning in an industrial accident involving a zip line operation, Big Island police said.
Police received a call for a public accident at about 9:30 a.m. at a zip line in Paukaa near Honolii north of Hilo. The zip line is owned and operated by Lava Hotline LLC, according to Gary Marrow, owner of Kapohokine Adventures. Marrow told KITV that Kapohokine handles reservations for the zip line. State business records show that Marrow is an officer in both Lava Hotline LLC and Kapohokine.
Kapohokine Adventures and Gary Marrow have been in the headlines before. The company was fined $15,000 for altering a trail, despite warnings from the state that it needed a permit to do the work. The zip line operates on land owned by Teresa Prehaski who bought the 570 acre parcel from Mauna Kea Agribusiness to operate eco-tours.
Hawaii county officials recently denied a request by Morrow to use an old airstrip to fly customers in by helicopter for the zip tours. It said he needed to apply for special permits to do so.
Big Island Planning director Bobby Jean Leithead said the company decided instead to use vans to drive people to the site.
The county says zip lines are allowed on agricultural land as an open area recreational use-- so it has no jurisdiction over that part of the operation.
According to Hawaii County Police Capt. Randall Medeiros the zip line had been in service for one week, but customers were complaining the zip line was too slow. Marrow disputed that claim saying that, at no time did police ever talk with customers of the zip line.
The two contract workers were adjusting the zip line when they fell, police said.
One man fell 150 to 200 feet from the zip line , police said. Fire rescue crews recovered his body by helicopter. Police said the man was from Maui.
"It was a rocky river bed where he had fallen and the information we have is that he had no head gear on at the time," said Medieros.
The second man fell about 30 feet from a tower and is in critical condition, police said. He is from Ohio.
Both men were contractors employed by a Maui company, Experiential Resources Inc. which builds and maintains zip lines.
Police said a support tower collapsed while the men were testing the line.