Inspectors: Swing in fatal accident needed permit to operate

Olivia Paige Grimes
Olivia Paige Grimes Oasis Community Church

South Carolina inspectors have concluded the management of a summer camp in Sunset, S.C., where a girl fell 100 feet from a swing and died Monday, should have applied for a permit for the swing and had it inspected by the state.

Lesia Kudelka, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, said on Thursday the rope swing, as well as six zip lines at Young Life’s camp at Carolina Point, each meet the definition of an amusement device and need a permit to be operated.

“The determination was made because of the mechanical equipment that is used to convey passengers,” she said.

The camp shut down the “Freebird Swing,” pending an investigation, after Olivia Paige Grimes, 16, of Lakeland, Fla., died.

Kudelka said the swing and zip lines cannot reopen until the camp applies for permits and the Office of Elevators and Amusement Rides grants them.

A camp manager could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kudelka said there are four zip lines permitted by the department in the state, all in the Myrtle Beach area, and one more is waiting to be inspected. It was unclear if the department has inspected other swings like the “Freebird Swing.”

The camp has a Brevard, N.C., mailing address but land in both states. The sheriff’s office in Pickens County, S.C., responded to the accident Monday evening.

In North Carolina, state legislators have passed a bill that would compel the state to study whether it should regulate zip lines and are waiting for the governor’s signature. The bill was amended to include the regulation study provision after 12-year-old Bonnie Sanders Burney died from a 20-foot fall from a zip line at a YMCA camp in Alleghany County in June.

A statement from Olivia’s family said she was a rising junior in high school and wanted to go to college to create animated movies.

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