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Teen falls to death from summer camp rope swing

South Carolina state inspectors are among those investigating a rope swing accident that killed a teenager Monday at a summer camp on the North Carolina border near Brevard.

The death comes nearly five weeks after a 12-year-old girl fell off a zip line and died at a summer camp in Western North Carolina.

Olivia Paige Grimes, 16, of Lakeland, Fla., died late Monday afternoon at Young Life’s camp at Carolina Point, Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley said Tuesday.

Grimes was sitting on and attached to a pendulum swing with two other participants, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office reported. She became unattached and fell to the ground 100-120 feet below, according to the report.

The coroner’s office pronounced Grimes dead on the scene.

The other people on the swing were unharmed.

The camp told the sheriff’s office it will shut down the ropes course that included the swing pending an investigation and inspection.

Camp staff called emergency responders and performed CPR, an announcement on the camp website noted.

“We do not yet know how this occurred,” the website said.

The campground has a mailing address in Brevard but includes land in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

A spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation said the device doesn’t appear to be one state law requires officials to regulate, and the department had not inspected that device.

“However, (the Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides) is sending inspectors to the scene to find out more about the device,” the spokeswoman, Lesia Kudelka, said.

South Carolina, like most states, regulates amusement rides if they are “mechanical.” Ropes courses, challenge courses and zip lines generally don’t fit that definition.

North Carolina does not regulate challenge courses such as the one at Carolina Point. A bill currently in the legislature would compel the Department of Labor to study the need for regulation of zip lines, a common feature of such courses. The bill was introduced after Bonnie Sanders Burney, 12, fell to her death from a zip line at a YMCA summer camp in June.

Matt Huett, the lead pastor at the Florida church where Olivia’s father works, said the family had not yet announced any funeral arrangements.

Huett said Grimes – who is survived by her parents, Phil and Robyn, and a sister – was at the camp while her family was in Florida.

Taylor: 704-358-5353; Twitter: @LangstonITaylor

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