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New troubles for Firearms training factility in July 4th death.

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by PvtPyle, Jul 31, 2007.

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  1. PvtPyle

    PvtPyle Member

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    July 27, 2007 09:58 PM EDT

    A fatal accident at the Front Sight Firearms Training Institute is
    raising new questions about the safety of the facility near Pahrump.

    The family of the man who died has filed a lawsuit. Among the
    allegations is Front Sight staff failed to follow its own safety
    procedures.

    The accident on July 4th is the subject of a criminal investigation.
    The I-Team learned late Thursday the Nye County sheriff's office plans
    to recommend felony charges against two of the instructors involved in
    the accident. Detectives believe their actions rise to the level of
    criminal negligence.

    The victim's family couldn't agree more.

    The Valencia family gathered together on July 4th for the "First
    Family Reunion" as it's called at the Front Sight Firearms Training
    Institute, a gun range and adventure training facility near Pahrump.

    Little did they know it would be their last family gathering with all
    of family present.

    911 tape: "Yes, this is Shannon Long, Front Sight, Nevada. I have a
    medical emergency."

    911 operator: "And what's going on?"

    911 tape: "So this guy was on the zip line and he hit the lift we use
    to get them off the zip line. Trauma to the head. When I got to him
    about two minutes after, he was pulse-less and unresponsive."

    911 operator: "Does he have a pulse now?"

    911 tape: "No."

    911 operator: "We'll get the ambulance in route."

    The call is interrupted by Dalia Valencia's screams. From the tower
    above she watched her husband strike a steel platform and then go
    limp.

    Dalia Valencia, Jesus' wife, said, "When I got there he was dying. He
    was leaving me. I told him not to leave me that I wanted him here and
    I couldn't do anything. He then closed his eyes."

    According to a letter sent to Front Sight members, the instructor on
    the tower released Jesus before his daughter cleared the line leaving
    the instructor below to pull Valeria to safety while attempting to
    lower the platform.

    The Nye County sheriff's office told the I-Team that information is
    consistent with its investigation, except for a missing detail. The
    platform was operated by a 16-year-old.

    Jesus Valencia, III said, "I just saw him, he was hanging from the
    wire with his arms and his legs just loose, down. He stayed like that
    for about five, ten minutes. They didn't help to bring him down. They
    didn't give him any first aid."

    Front Sight did not have an ambulance at the facility, according to
    the sheriff, despite its remote location. Thirty one minutes after the
    first call to 911 the first responder declared Jesus deceased and then
    canceled the ambulance and the helicopter on stand-by.

    Dalia Valencia said, "We celebrated 10 years of marriage and because
    of the negligence of Front Sight, they have taken my husband away and
    the father of my kids."

    The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Front Sight
    Firearms Training Institute.

    Among the allegations is the staff failed to equip Jesus with a
    certified safety helmet, violated their own safety protocols and then
    left him hanging from the zip line for more than ten minutes. All of
    it was in full view of his parents, his wife and his children.

    "Right now my kids are devastated. My daughter is devastated," Dalia
    continued. "I don't want this to happen to another family, to another
    member, what happened to us."

    Though the police are recommending criminal charges, it will be up to
    the Nye County district attorney to make the final decision.

    This is not the first accident at front sight. According to its web
    site, it's had four accidental shootings. None of them were fatal.
     
  2. Bazooka Joe71

    Bazooka Joe71 Member

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    Very tragic...

    But I'm not so sure criminal charges are in order.:scrutiny:
     
  3. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

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    Stupidity and negligence can certainly rise to a criminal level. This suit does seem rather quick...

    TC
     
  4. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    Yeah, when your company policy is already prone to get some one hurt, then you have a employ that breaks company policy. And you take no blame for what happened. And you say everything thing is safe. But dont back it up. I would say thats Criminal. Also neglect after you know your policy its self is not right.

    Hope the company gets sued a lot over this. Bunch of poeple who dont know how to run a zip line and they get some one killed. Then say its safe. The employs is very little of what went wrong. Its the company policy that really help set up this accident.


    I even sent a letter to the company President about how to make there zip safe. but did not get much of a response. They have no desire to change a broken system that gets people killed. Not a good company.
     
  5. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    If a family member of mine died in a legitimate unforseeable accident, I would not even think about filing a lawsuit (Thinking on the scale of freak accident that is really nobody's fault).

    For this, however, the accounts I have read certainly suggest that it was someone's negligence and maybe more people's failure to respond that directly resulted in another person's death. Now that is a problem.
     
  6. nplant

    nplant Member

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    Mindwip -

    What's the policy? I instruct there on a part time basis, but not on any of the ropes. If I read your post correctly, you are experienced with not only a zip line, but with Front Sight's implementation of a zip line. Since I don't have ANY experience with ropes, zip lines, rappelling, etc. I'm curious as to the actual ins and outs of the line.

    I've been trying to figure out how Jesus could have been injured to the extent he was, given the information that's come out (head injury? spinal cord?). I just don't know enough to make an educated guess. By the way, I knew Jesus peripherally, from the members' forum, and he was a great guy, and I'm sad that he is no longer with us.
     
  7. 30 cal slob

    30 cal slob Member

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    wow.

    it doesn't look good. :uhoh:

    i'd be mad as hell if i were a family member of the deceased.
     
  8. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    This article does not say much about what happened to cause the accident. There press release on july 5? gave more detail. While i have not been there taking into account what they wrote in there press release.


    Basically what they are doing wrong, company policy wise is how they run there Zip line. When you have a set up like they do, with a "lift" to get the zipper. You should not have the zipper coming in at such a speed to cause harm to him self if he were to hit something. It is much better to have it set up so that the last couple feet you need to push your self over the zip line to the pick up spot. This true with all zip lines, if you want to be really safe.

    This would of made it so no one got hurt even if the employ messed up. True the employ should of never said "go" to the zipper. Was he in the wrong. Yes. But so was how the zip line was set up.

    I have been rock climbing on and off since i was 13. I am not the best at it but i understand a lot. Also i have been on many zip lines before, seeing different set ups.

    Does that answer your question better?

    Also i have been wondering do you know if they wear helmets, dont remember reading if he had one on or not. Wonder if it would of made a difference. Over all how they ran the zip line did not seem right, especially in light of this new article. If its true and not hearsay.
     
  9. nplant

    nplant Member

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    Mindwip -

    The one thing I do know about the ropes courses is that they require you to wear Front Sight provided safety gear, including a helmet. The idea is that then there is no question as to how to set up the gear, and presumably that it's in proper shape (inspected by the same people each time). But then, people are human.... I wasn't there this year, though, so I can't honestly attest that they were wearing helmets this time or not. In the past, they have given out helmets.

    Anyway, I think I get what you're saying - sort of a 'brake zone' where the person would stop by friction instead of smacking into something? That way they'd have to actually personally initiate the move to get down?

    The other thing I was trying to figure out, not having ever got on one of these things is, why didn't he just crunch up his body and protect his spine and head, or use his legs to smash into something? I'd much rather have a broken ribcage or femur than neck or cranium. Ah, I guess it's too late to armchair the accident, but I just wish that Jesus could have done something more also, and at least survive to complain about the horrible experience.
     
  10. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    Why exactly is ziplining part of a firearms training course?
     
  11. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    Good idea, in fact thats how you should ride a zip line. You are in a lieing down on a couch with your back propped up position, best way to describe it with out pics. This way your feet/legs which are straight in front of you hit before any part of you does. Your head would be the last. This position also gives you the most control of the zip line. Breaking wise its the best, you put your hand on the zip line "behind the pulley, if you put it in front its a good way to lose fingers" and squeeze the steel, this slows you down quite a bit.

    There are many things you can do to avoid hitting something. But assuming the person is not experienced with zip lines they would not know what to do. Not there fault. They put there lives in others hands. I wonder what type of training they give the guest before they hop on.


    No reason really but there fun as hell. Generally speaking zip lines are dangerous, duo to improper set up. But when you set them up right, there is nothing like zipping over 600 ft of steel 50ft in the air. And its very safe. I belvie they had it part of a obstacle course
     
  12. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    I'm confused here are you saying ziplines are safe or dangerous?
     
  13. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    I could see why you would be confused. sorry:eek:. Try reading it like this.



    No reason really but there fun as hell. Generally speaking zip lines are dangerous, duo to improper set up. But when you set them up right, there is nothing like zipping over 600 ft of steel 50ft in the air.And its very safe. I belvie they had it part of a obstacle course


    Yes all rock climbing/rappeling/ zip lines are very dangerous. If fact i beleive everyone who takes part in these sports should read Accidents in North American Mountaineering they come out every year. Its about Accidents in North American Mountaineering, it is tales from the people who survived something bad, or from rangers saying they found 2 bodies with a pack of new gear with there price tags stillon. But even thou they are dangerous there are many, many things you can do to reduce the risk and make it through a life time of rock climbing/rappeling/ zip lines with out getting hurt. When done properly these activities are very safe. Safe safe safe. Most accidents happen to people who just started/ over confident. Due to the fact they dont know what there doing 100% yet. Same with guns, guns are very dangerous, but if you follow all the rules then you will be fine. Of course there is still mother nature to take into account, you are climbing up a wall when a boulder the size of a house lets go and falls on you. Not even a helmet will help you then.


    Very good read, shows you how important helmets really are. And also nice tips for safty. Learn by others mistakes.
    http://www.amazon.com/Accidents-North-American-Mountaineering-Williamson/dp/093041098X

    I wish they had these for guns. I think it would teach a lot of people more about gun safety.
     
  14. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Member

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    It just shows that whatever training facility you're involved in, situational awareness is key. If you see something wrong, like a minor operating a dangerous mechanism or RO not being professional, SPEAK UP or leave the vacinity to prevent any incidents.

    It definitely gives you another view of things. Maybe that's why my wife doesn't like going to my shooting events.
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Yeah, like realizing you're in the compound with a bunch of zip lining fruitloops and getting the heck out of there! Zip lines at gun ranges are a very odd and disturbing combination. It will be interesting to see if they had coverage for any of these activities.
     
  16. nplant

    nplant Member

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    I don't think that they give much actual instruction before the zip line during the 4th of July celebration. Again, I've not gone on it, so I can't intelligently comment on that part. In years past, there has been a HUGE line for that particular event, so I can't imagine the instructions are very involved.

    As to the question of what part does a zip line play in a firearms course, the answer is none. The zip line is part of a ropes course that the facility runs, in addition to the firearms, knife, and empty-hand courses. The facility is very close to Red Rock, and there are a lot of rock climbers that head out there. I think that part of the idea was to attract a near-by demographic for more revenue, but that's speculation on my part. It makes good business sense, though.

    In all fairness, someone's age really shouldn't be a factor in this incident, beyond whether or not the insurance companies would allow it. The fault was not on the 16 year old at the end of the line, but the adult at the top for allowing someone to leave the platform without the line being clear. Like anything else, each of us would respond to a situation like this based on our training and maturity. Although I wasn't there at the time of the accident, I know that many of the younger helpers are very mature (for any age), and the ones I've worked with there are top notch, no matter what "grade" they're in.

    Further, my understanding from the outside is that the lift operator did the correct thing in getting Jesus' daughter down from the platform first, loaded up a trained paramedic and went back up to try to help Jesus. Also, the reports have varied wildly on how long he was up in the air (from less than 2 minutes to over 10 minutes).

    I'm surprised at the family's decision to entertain a news crew, but not at all surprised that they filed a lawsuit (if they hadn't, no insurance company would have paid a thing, period).

    At any rate, the membership lost a friend and fellow shooter, and for that, we're all sad. I think the best thing that could come of the tragedy would be for better procedures, better setup (as Mindwip has pointed out), and maybe even different management procedures for safety. I'd also point out that this is the first accident on the property, that I'm aware of, that can be clearly stated to be NOT THE FAULT of the deceased. The other accidents were caused by not following the four rules, or the procedures of operating a specific firearm (the incident reports are available on the Front Sight website, in case anyone wants to read them).
     
  17. CNYCacher

    CNYCacher Member

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    From the article, it sounds like this particular line was set up so that when you came to a stop, they would raise a platform up to you and then unhook you from the zipline. It sounds as though the platform was still raised from the previous rider when Jesus started down the zipline. Seeing Jesus coming dowm, they couldn't lower the platform fast enough, and he slammed into it.


    All gun safety is based on eliminating risk even in a seemingly innocuous situation. Is it okay to point a gun at your friend if the safety is on? NO!!! The rule is you don't point the gun at anything you don't want to destroy. The rule does not say "Unless the safety is on", the rule says "NEVER". Someone might say, "But the gun won't go off." The answer is "But what if it does? FOLLOW THE RULES!"

    Some thing in this situation, really. The guy whose job it was to lower the platform was the "safety".

    How about this parallel:
    "Do not handle firearms on the firing line until the range is called clear."
    "Do not handle harnesses and pulleys at the top of the zip line until the bottom of the zipline is ready for you to come down."

    "Treat all firearms as though they were loaded."
    "Treat all ziplines as though they were obstructed."

    As someone who is involved in guns and also ropework, the parallels just keep coming to me.

    I guess if I have a point it is this: The zipline sounds like a horrible design. Somebody should have been applying the "If something CAN go wrong, it WILL, so be prepared!" principle, which firearm safety is based around, to their zipline.
     
  18. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

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    I expected this much earlier than now.
     
  19. Calhoun

    Calhoun Member

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    I want to jump into this fray here. As someone who used to build ropes courses professionally, including MANY zip lines, I have a bit of knowledge to inject in the debate.

    First off, zip lines are incredibly safe if they are run in the correct manner by trained staff.

    Second, said staff need to have excelent communication skills. Including having (with respect to Art's Grammaw) the balls to tell the participants to shut the hell up so you can communicate with the other staff on the ground.

    Third, the best and safest way for a zipline to be built is with a gravity brake system. In this system the 2 ends of the cable are at roughly the same height and the participant simply slides back and forth until they come to a stop. This is usually 2 of 3 passes past the take-off point, depending on the weight of the participant (usually). That take-off point is roughly the center of the span. This take-off point MUST be high enough off the ground that there is absolutly NO chance a participant can hit. So you are looking at anywhere from 6 feet up when loaded. That being said, there needs to be something used to get them off the zip. A ladder, or sometimes a platform that rolls or folds down out of the way is probably the most common method.

    Fourth, and from what I have read this is where the problem was, that take off device (ladder, platform, etc) must be removed before another participant is even attached to the zip.

    Fifth, ziplines are fun as all get out.

    Sixth, and this is for all the parents out there. Don't buy the zip line kits you can find at some toystores or other retailers or online. The cable and hardware included in those kits are are simply not safe. The cable in much too small and the hardware tends to be stamped instead of forged. This means that the hardware is made of a soft enough metal that the cable can saw through the hardware. If you want a zipline for the kids in the backyard contact a company that knows what they are doing. (If you are looking, feel free to PM me and I'll try to point you in the right direction)

    There you go. My 2 or 3 or 4 cents worth.
     
  20. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    I would trust my life to a 16 year old. I dont think age is a big factor. Maybe this 16 yr old was not capable of handling it. But i am sure other 16 year olds are.


    If thats true that would explain why the guest was in a bad position when he hit by the sound of his injuries and why he left the platform even thou some one told him to, when it was not clear. Or why he did not brake him self with hands and\or feet. Dont get me wrong i am not in no way or shape blaming the guest. If he was not told about this stuff he would never of known what to do. This is more the fault of the company, if he was not told. Poor staff training. But as we were not there we can only guess at some of the stuff.


    Do they really sell zip lines in stores? I have never seen any in Ca. Sounds like there bad kits. eck. What some people do for money.
     
  21. CDignition

    CDignition Member

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    You trust your life to 16 year olds everytime you drive a car... cause theres always newbie 16 year old drivers out there, just looking for an accident
     
  22. Calhoun

    Calhoun Member

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    Mindwip- Yes, there are some DIY zipline kits that you can find. The cable usually used in these kits is very similar in diameter to the clothesline that consists of a thin metal core and a vinyl sheath. Maybe 1/5th of an inch. Maybe. Those kits are lucky to top out at 1000 lbs.
    The professionally installed zips are typically made of 3/8" 7x19 (7 strand bundles made up of 19 individual strands) galvanized aircraft cable with an average breaking strengenth somewhere in the neighborhood of 14,500 lbs. Needless to say, it's really hard to break that stuff.
     
  23. canopy2k

    canopy2k Member

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    I don't understand why you guys keep focusing on the 16 year old kid. This was NOT his fault, in any way.

    The deceased's daughter had zipped down. The 16 year old was recovering the daughter, when the ADULT at the top of the zip-line apparently released the father. The 16 year old did everything he could to get the daughter out of the way and lower the platform in time, but was unsuccessful. From my understanding, the platform was a scissor-type lift. If you've ever used one of these, they are very slow on descent. For a reason.

    The person at fault was the guy at the tower, not this poor 16 year old kid who maybe saved the daughters life by getting her out of the way.

    BTW, those of you saying that the platform should be at the end of the zip-line, instead of the middle, have never ridden a zip line. You zip down, past the point where the cable sags the lowest, then go back and forth til your momentum ceases. A recovery platform at the end of the line would be useless.

    c2k
     
  24. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

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    OK kind of think I know what a zip line is. However, accidents
    happen. I can remember fatal accidents during training in the
    Marine Corps, but no law suits. Pahrump has a shooting range?
    Nye Co Deputy Sheriff 68 to 70 with no medical aid then other
    then Las Vegas some 70 miles away. Accidents, yep. Law suits
    nope! During that time Pahrump had two Deputies and a JP.
    Felonies went to Tonopah a goodly distance north to Nye's county
    seat. Unfortunate accident, but that's what it is !!! Law suit, huh?
    Civilization must have arrived!!!!
     
  25. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    Zip line? I'm sorry, but my ignorance is showing. What is a zip line?

    Was the man sliding down a rope and hit his head?
     
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