Zipline failure kills Korean tourist

VANG VIENG, 29 November 2019: Travel professionals called on the Lao government to introduce stricter regulations after a Korean tourist died and two other tourists suffered injuries when a Zipline collapsed at this popular riverside tourist town in Laos.

Local officials said a seven-metre high tree supporting the cable collapsed causing the fatal accident.  They have initiated an investigation to determine if the accident was caused by negligence. They will also initiate safety checks at all eight Zipline attractions in the riverside town.

The accident happened last Tuesday at Vang Vieng, a tourist destination located 150 km north of the country’s capital, Vientiane, and the half-way house for overland travellers heading for Luang Prabang.

The 48-year-old Korean fell to his death while two other Korean tourists, who were riding the cable ahead of the victim, sustained minor injuries.

The three tourists were colleagues working for a company in Busan and arrived in Laos last Sunday.

On the Travel Professionals Laos Facebook page, an international tourism specialist, Rik Ponne, called for “district and provincial tourism authorities to come up with standards, regulations and enforcement mechanisms for Ziplines, and possibly other risky activities such as water-based activities and ballooning.”

Another member of the group, David Ormsby noted: “Hopefully, this will spur the government to create some national adventure tourism standards and improving the quality of TVET training for adventure guides.”

According to local media news reports, around 300,000 tourists visited Vang Vieng last year with Chinese and Korean the leading nationalities.

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