California man sacrifices himself in zip line fall in heroic attempt to save woman, friend says

A California man died Monday after falling from a zip line in north San Diego County's Pauma Valley area, a close friend of his told FOX 5, saying it was a selfless act to save someone's life.

The friend identified the victim as 34-year-old Joaquin Romero and said he died at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Romero was reportedly an employee at the popular La Jolla Zip Zoom Zipline on the La Jolla Indian Reservation. The incident happened Saturday.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Romero fell about 70 feet. He was working on the "receiving" platform and tried to assist someone on a zip line before he fell, according to the county medical examiner's office.

A witness said Romero was helping a woman get hooked on the platform when she started sliding out on the line. He couldn’t stop her and grabbed onto her harness, which caused them both to slide out about a hundred feet above the ground, according to the witness.

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The friend said Romero feared the woman could fall because of the weight, so he made a heroic decision to let go. According to the witness, the woman was not injured.

Romero suffered multiple blunt force injuries, according to the medical examiner's office and a captain for Cal Fire.

Fire crews used ropes and a rescue basket to hoist Romero onto a road, where he was loaded onto an ambulance and taken to a medical helicopter in a landing zone. Romero was then airlifted to a hospital, where he died Monday morning.

The "about us" section on the business' website says, "La Jolla Zip Zoom features courses from 300 to 2,700 feet and speeds up to 55 mph. All of our courses have parallel cables so you can share your adventure with a friend."

A spokesman for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed to The San Diego Union-Tribune that the government agency is investigating the incident.

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