Florida teen’s family suing over death on SC ropes course

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The family of a Florida teen has sued over her death at a high ropes course last summer in South Carolina, accusing the group that ran the camp and the company that sold the swing she fell from of negligence.

Authorities have said Olivia Paige Grimes, 16, of Lakeland, Florida, died in July after falling more than 100 feet from a pendulum swing at Carolina Point Camp in Sunset, on the South Carolina-North Carolina state line. Grimes was supposed to be attached to a large pendulum swing along with two other people, but she became unhooked and fell more than 100 feet to the ground, authorities said.

Deputies said they found no evidence of foul play or mechanical failure. The Pickens County Coroner’s Office said the death was accidental.

In January, Grimes’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Young Life Inc., a Christian youth organization, and Adventure Experiences Inc., the Texas company that sold the “Freebird” swing to the camp. The lawsuit, which this week was transferred from Florida to federal court in South Carolina, accuses both entities of negligence. Mediation is set for next month.

The Grimes’ family says the teen was never properly secured into the “ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous” swing, which at the time was being operated by only one Young Life employee instead of two. Adventure Experiences designed a “defective and unreasonably dangerous” ride that only had one hook for securing a rider, the lawsuit says.

Attorneys representing Young Life and Adventure Experiences did not immediately respond to an email Wednesday.

Carolina Point Camp straddles the South Carolina-North Carolina line and has a Brevard, North Carolina, mailing address, although the Freebird swing was located on the South Carolina side of the border. That should have made it subject to annual inspections by South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, although an agency spokeswoman said after Grimes death that the camp had no permit for the course.

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