4 Mar 2013

Man who fell to death on adventure course named

10:35 pm on 4 March 2013

Police have named the 57-year-old Auckland man who died after falling at a tree top adventure park north-west of Auckland.

Clifford Brabet, from Titirangi, was on a team building day at Treetops Adventures in the Woodhill Forest near Kumeu when he fell to his death on Sunday.

Tree Adventures

Tree Adventures Photo: RNZ

Police say they have spoken with his family, some of whom witnessed the fall.

A doctor and paramedic who were climbing at the park tried to resuscitate Mr Brabet, but he died at the scene.

They have completed an initial report, and found there is no criminal liability, so have referred the death to the coroner.

The Department of Labour is leading the investigation into how Mr Brabet fell.

People at the park voiced concerns about safety and overcrowding before the fall.

Imogene Pyne was at the park for a friend's daughter's ninth birthday party. She said the girl's father spoke to a staff member about how busy the park was minutes before the fall.

Others in the group were also worried about overcrowding but these concerns were dismissed, she said. Ms Pyne Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme that parents had been left to supervise activities. "We were having to tell them to change the carabiners and that kind of thing."

Ms Pyne says it was a chaotic scene after the man plunged to the ground, and her group had to herd themselves off their course, sheltering the children from seeing what had happened.

She said staff were shaken up and in shock. "They were visibly quite distressed. A lot of the staff were quite young. There was a lot of running around and a lot of chaos."

In a statement, Tree Adventures said safety is always a number one priority and it insists on detailed briefings for people using the courses.

The company said the park is closed until further notice while it co-operates with police and health and safety investigations

Health and safety inspectors are investigating the death and police are looking into the fall on behalf of the coroner.

The Tourism Industry Association advocacy manager Geoff Ensor told Morning Report a lot of work has been done over the last three years to make adventure activities safer and it is important any lessons learned from the tragedy are acted on by the industry.