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Lawmaker says he’s open to idea of state regulations after fatal zip line accident in Kanab

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Posted at 9:51 PM, Jul 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-16 12:46:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Fatal accidents like the one that happened Tuesday at Kanab Zipline are rare, but exactly how many injuries or accidents have occurred statewide is unknown.

The Utah Department of Commerce, which oversees licensing and inspections of businesses ranging from medical facilities to hair salons, has no regulations or inspections process for zip line operators. Kanab Zipline

State Representative Mike Noel, R-District 73, represents a large portion of southern Utah--including Kanab, and he tells FOX 13 News the accident that claimed 53-year-old Darrell Gilley's life is the first time he's ever heard of an incident at Kanab Zipline.

"I think they've got a pretty good safety record," he said.

Still, Noel is concerned about the lack of regulation over zip line businesses in Utah.

"I'd probably support some kind of oversight by the state," Noel said.

Park City based company Ziprider has constructed several of Utah's most well-known zip line rides, including one which recently opened at Sundance Resort.

An employee there says Ziprider builds to standards which exceed recommendations by the American Society for Testing and Materials, and above the standards required by Colorado law--which is the only state to enact strict regulations so far.

Ziprider did not build the Kanab Zipline attraction.

It's uncertain if safety standards like the ones in Colorado could have saved the life of Darrell Gilley, but Representative Noel said Gilley's death leaves him pondering the need for a more watchful eye over zip line rides in Utah.

"I'm not against zip lines," he said. "They may be fine. But I think if we've got regulations on Lagoon and other entertainment events like that, then we ought to have some minimum type standards."