GLADE VALLEY, N.C. (WNCN) – Camp Cheerio, a popular summer destination for kids in the Triangle area and beyond, was the site of a tragic zipline accident that killed a 12-year-old Wilmington girl.
WECT has identified the girl as Bonnie Sanders Burney. About a dozen girls were around when Burney fell.
David Ozmore, the CEO of the YMCA of High Point, which runs Camp Cheerio, said the camp will investigate the incident thoroughly and cooperate with appropriate local authorities.
“We do some dangerous things but we are always cognizant of safety. We inspect the zip line every year and we inspected it in the spring of this year,” Ozmore said. “We have certification training that our climbing staff went through and this instructor was one of our more mature staff.”
Ozmore told WECT that the child fell from the zip line while tethered over land. He’s unsure how high up the child was at the time.
EMTs were on site at the time and alternated CPR on the child. Ozmore says the camp has doctors and nurses on staff because of its remote location.
The child was taken to a nearby hospital, but Ozmore said the injuries from the fall were too severe to overcome.
About a dozen children and camp counselors were nearby at the time of the fall, but not all saw what happened Ozmore said.
“This is the first major incident we’ve had in 60 years,” Ozmore said. “We’ve never had a tragedy like this.”
In an interview with the Wilmington Star News, Ozmore said the camp has dual ziplines and said, “We think those lines got tangled.”
About 400 children are at Camp Cheerio this week. Grief counselors are on site.
Camp activities will continue on schedule throughout the summer but the zip line will be closed until further notice, Ozmore said.
A memorial service for Burney will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilmington on Monday at 3 p.m.