ASHEBORO, N.C. -- A North Carolina Zoo employee died at the zoo on Thursday in a "workplace accident," zoo officials said.
N.C. Department of Labor Spokeswoman Mary Katherine Revels told FOX8, "the preliminary information we have at this time is an arborist, employed at the zoological park, engaged in an aerial rescue drill, fell 20-30 feet from a tree and died at the scene."
Randolph County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Amanda Varner said the emergency call came in at 8:20 a.m.
"The entire Zoo community is deeply saddened by this loss and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of our team member," zoo officials said in a statement.
The zoo closed the park on Thursday at 2 p.m. People were given free tickets to return another day.
"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," zoo officials said.
Grief counselors are on hand at the zoo.
The Randolph County Sherrif's Office and Department of Labor will investigate.