ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP/WNCN)
UPDATE: North Carolina Zoo officials have identified the worker who died in a training exercise fall, and have announced a fund to support his young daughter.
The News and Observer reports the North Carolina Zoo confirmed late last week the employee was 38-year-old arborist Branson Langley.
Langley died in a 20 to 30-foot (6 to 9-meter) fall from a tree while simulating the rescue of a trapped co-worker.
In a Facebook post, the zoo announced a fund for Langley’s 9-year-old daughter to support her education and “help her achieve all the dreams that her father wished for her.”
The paper reports Langley’s death was the first fatality since the zoo opened in 1974.
The accident is being investigated by the sheriff’s office and the Department of Labor.
PREVIOUS: An arborist with the North Carolina Zoo was killed Thursday morning after they fell around 20 feet during a drill, officials confirmed.
The arborist was taking part in an aerial rescue drill when they fell 20-30 feet to their death, state labor officials said.
The release says “[t]he entire Zoo community is deeply saddened by this loss and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of our team member.”
The identity of the arborist was not released.
The incident did not involve any of the Zoo’s animals.
The Africa section of the NC Zoo has been closed and the entire park will close at 2 p.m., officials said.
“The Zoo is working closely with investigators to determine details of the incident, which was not related to any of the Zoo’s animals. We will provide more information as it becomes available,” the Zoo said in the release.