RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — The identity of the arborist killed in a workplace accident at the North Carolina Zoo has been released.
Branson Joe Langley, 38, died Thursday after falling 20-30 feet from a tree during an aerial rescue drill at the zoo.
Branson was a native of Randolph County and a 2000 graduate of Eastern Randolph High School, according to his obituary on the Loflin Funeral Home website.
“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.
Langley’s funeral will be held on Sunday at Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Liberty. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
The Randolph County Sherrif’s Office and Department of Labor are investigating the accident.
The North Carolina Zoo Society established a trust fund for Langley’s daughter, a NC Zoo news release says.
“The Maggie Fund will be used to further her education and help her achieve all the dreams that her father wished for her”, the zoo says.
Individuals can donate to the Maggie Fund, by mailing a check to the North Carolina Zoo Society or by making a donation online. Please address mail-in donations to The Maggie Fund; In care of The North Carolina Zoo Society; 4403 Zoo Parkway; Asheboro, NC 27205.
Online donations may be made by going to the Zoo Society’s webpage at nczoo.com. The zoo will begin accepting online donations for The Maggie Fund by noon Saturday.