Widow sues Daintree zip-line company, engineers for millions after husband falls to his death

Dean Sanderson died and his wife Shannon was injured while zip-lining in the Daintree rainforest. (Facebook)

The wife of a man who died after plunging from a zip-line in Far North Queensland has launched a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against those she holds responsible.

Adelaide father-of-three Dean Sanderson, 50, died after the zip-line he was attached to failed while high above the Daintree rainforest in October 2019.

His wife Shannon Sanderson — who was in a separate harness but launched at the same time — also fell approximately 10 metres at the Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours and survived, despite serious injuries.

Mrs Sanderson and her son Bailey Sanderson have filed a claim at the Supreme Court in Cairns against the company, which is now in liquidation, as well as engineering company EDMS Pty Ltd.

Dean Sanderson, 50, died due to massive head trauma from the fall. (Supplied)

They are seeking more than $1.8 million for Mr Sanderson's death and a further $624,000 for Mrs Sanderson's personal injuries.

The claim states Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour's negligence led to the death of Mr Sanderson.

It said the zip-line failed because it slipped through the wire rope grips at the connection point of the zip-line to a structure known as the "grandstand", a landing platform installed by EDMS.

The claim states the wire rope grips were not adequate to use at that particular point.

Holiday turns to terror

The South Australian family had been holidaying in the area when the tragedy occurred.

Witness Mardi Liebelt, from Hervey Bay, told the ABC at the time she was behind the couple and about to take her turn when she said the line snapped.

"The twang when the zip-line came back up made an awful noise, then there was just silence for what seemed like forever," she said.

Two people on a zip-line in the Daintree rainforest run by Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours. (Facebook: Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours)

"There was a gentleman who had just gone across the zip-line, as a customer, he was a paramedic and so he got down and went to help.

"He managed to revive him for a while but he [the victim] died because of massive head trauma."

Company closes

Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours closed permanently in March last year.

In a statement, it said:

"[Our] thoughts continue to be with the families and friends that have been affected by the tragic accident.

"We have fought long and hard to get the business up and running but after the COVID-19 pandemic it has become financially impossible for us to continue and reinstate the zip-line tour."

The company was placed in liquidation earlier this year.


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