A worker participating in an “aerial rescue drill” at the North Carolina Zoo died last week in a fall. News reports say 38-year-old Branson Joe Langley was killed when he fell 20-30 feet from a tree. The drill involved two arborists – one playing the role of a person trapped in a tree and the other performing a rescue.
The Africa section of the zoo was immediately closed to the public following the incident, and the entire park closed by 2 p.m. The zoo was open for its normal hours on Friday.
The Randolph County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Department of Labor are investigating the incident.
Zoo officials said they are working closely with investigator to “determine details of the incident, which was not related to any of the Zoo’s animals.”
“The entire Zoo community is deeply saddened by this loss and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family of our team member.”
The North Carolina Zoo Society has established a trust fund for Langley’s daughter Maggie that will be used to further her education.