34-Year-Old Zip Line Operator Falls 70 Feet to Ground, Dies After Trying to Save Stuck Woman

Joaquin Romero was reportedly helping a woman out of a zip line harness before he fell to the ground

Joaquin Romero
Photo: Facebook

A zip line worker from Southern California died on Monday, two days after he fell dozens of feet while trying to help a customer out of their harness.

According to the San Diego Medical Examiner's Office, 34-year-old Joaquin Romero died of multiple "blunt force injuries" he sustained while working on the receiving platform of a zip line on the La Jolla Indian Reservation in Pauma Valley on Saturday.

Romero was helping a woman on a La Jolla Zip Zoom Zip Line platform when she began to slide down the line, a witness told KSWB. He reportedly grabbed the woman's harness to keep her from sliding but was pulled onto the line with her, and they both dangled dozens of feet above the ground.

Because he believed they would both fall due to their combined weight, Romero let go of the harness and sacrificed himself for the woman's safety, the witness told the news station.

The fall was about 70 feet, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"Paramedics transported [Romero] to the Sharp Memorial Hospital Emergency Department (ED) via helicopter," the coroner said in a report. "He arrived pulseless and cardiopulmonary resuscitation was initiated."

"Following admission, [Romero] was diagnosed with multiple blunt force injuries," the report continued. "The decedent was given a poor prognosis and family decided to place him on comfort care measures which were administered until his death was pronounced on 11/01/2021."

Representatives from La Jolla Zip Zoom Zip Line did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Normal Contreras, tribal chairwoman with the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, told KSWB that the tribe has extended their "sincere condolences to our employee and his family for their loss."

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"Like any employer, we pride ourselves on having a safe working environment and a safe and enjoyable experience for our customers," she told the outlet. "Given the circumstances of the accident, the Tribe is conducting an in-depth and comprehensive investigation, in coordination and cooperation with federal and state authorities."

"Until this investigation is completed, we won't be able to provide any further comment on this incident. We ask that you join us in keeping our employee and his family in our prayers," she continued.

According to the Union-Tribune, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting an investigation.

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