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Trampoline park reveals suspected cause of NC boy’s fatal fall off its climbing wall

Facebook screenshot/Altitude Trampoline Park

Officials at a North Carolina trampoline park have determined that a 12-year-old boy’s failure to fasten himself to safety equipment caused his fatal fall off the park’s climbing wall on June 19, multiple media outlets reported.

In a statement Thursday, officials with Altitude Trampoline Park on East Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia said they are removing the Clip ‘N Climb attraction out of respect for Matthew Lu’s family, Charlotte Observer news partner WBTV reported.

Matthew died at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on June 20 “with his family at his side” according to his obituary.

Matthew fell because he “did not self-clip into the belay system,” according to the statement, WSOC-TV reported.

Police are not conducting a criminal investigation, because the boy’s fall is considered an accident, WCCB reported. The N.C. Department of Labor does not regulate trampoline parks and such climbing walls, according to the station.

“Last week’s tragic fall was an accident – an unfortunate case of human error,” park officials also said in the statement, according to WBTV. “Lu was wearing a properly fitted harness and was instructed by a certified court monitor on how to self-clip into the belay system, but in this instance that did not occur.”

Matthew enjoyed playing trumpet and drums in the Cramerton Middle School band and tennis at Charlotte Indoor Tennis Club, according to his obituary. He was “an aspiring member of the Civil Air Patrol following in his sister’s footsteps,” his obituary said.

His family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Withers & Whisenant Funeral Home in Gastonia. His funeral is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home chapel.

In place of flowers, memorials may be made to Civil Air Patrol, c/o Sue Beutler, 2205 Leroy Ave., Gastonia NC 28054. Write “in honor of Matthew” on the memo line of the check.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.
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