Maui zip line worker killed in 150-foot fall

Maui zip line worker killed in 150 foot fall 10pm
Patricia "Trish" Rabellizsa
Patricia "Trish" Rabellizsa

MAKAWAO, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui Police are investigating the death of a zipline worker who fell 150 feet in Makawao Thursday morning.

The victim was identified as 29-year-old Patricia "Trish" Rabellizsa of Kihei, who worked as a guide at Piiholo Ranch Zipline.

The Maui County Fire Department said its crews were called at 9:51 a.m. Rescue efforts by air were hampered because of difficult terrain, vegetation and tree cover.

"Where the ziplines are, they go through the gulches, so it made it kinda difficult," said Maui Fire spokesman Capt. Lionel Montalvo. "Where the body was -- where the lady fell --  we couldn't access it with the helicopters so they had to carry her off to the side."

Montalvo said Rabellizsa was already dead by the time crews were able to reach her.

Rabellizsa was originally from California and had moved to Maui just a few months ago.

Her death has resurrected calls for legislation to regulate the zipline industry in Hawaii to ensure the safety of workers.

"Visitors do like the zip lines. Every day there's hundreds of them having great experiences, and clearly where the incidence are alarming is when the workers themselves are getting seriously hurt," said Rep. Angus McKelvey (D-West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei).

McKelvey had sponsored legislation two years after an accident killed a contractor testing a zipline on the Big Island. The measure was supported by Piiholo Ranch

Piiholo Ranch released the following statement on their Facebook page:

The Piiholo Zipline Ohana expresses its condolences and sympathy to those involved in today's tragic event. We especially offer our deepest aloha and prayers to the family and friends of our co-worker Patricia "Trish" Rabellizsa at this difficult time. We are working in full cooperation with the Maui Police Department's ongoing investigation.

Maui police are investigating Rabellizsa's death as an accident. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death.

Piiholo Zipline suspended its operations after the accident. It's not known yet whether business will resume Friday.

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