Girl’s zip line death in Alleghany County prompts change to safety bill

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Bonnie Sanders Burney

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The death of a Wilmington child in a zip line accident at YMCA Camp Cheerio last month prompted a change in a bill working its way through the state Senate.

The bill amplifies penalties for amusement park ride safety violations. According to the Wilmington StarNews, last week the bill was changed to allow the state’s labor department to decide if it is necessary to outline safety regulations for zip lines.

On June 11, Bonnie Sanders Burney, 12, was killed in a zip-lining accident at Camp Cheerio in Alleghany County.

The state presently has no regulations for zip lines.

State Rep. Ted Davis Jr. (R-New Hanover) told the StarNews when he heard Burney — his cousin — was killed because of the zip line malfunction, “I thought, ‘I have a perfect vehicle in my amusement bill pending in the Senate to do something about zip lines.'”

The bill received a unanimous Senate vote last week and returned to the House for concurrence on changes made.

Camp Cheerio closed its zip line following the accident.

In a letter to parents, the camp said in part, “It is important for you to know that, as is our custom, we will investigate the incident at Camp Cheerio thoroughly and cooperate with appropriate local authorities in any investigation that may be conducted. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

Alleghany County Sheriff Bryan Maines said his deputies found nothing criminal contributed to the fall.

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