A woman from Cloverdale, California plunged from a zip line during a shore based excursion when she was on a cruise.
Mother of four, 36 year old Heather Gladden was on a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line together with her husband Ryan. The cruise began in San Pedro for seven days and when they reached Puerto Vallarta in Mexico on Thursday, April 14, the couple went on a privately arranged excursion to the Nogalito Eco Park to go zip lining.
The zip line was around 2,100 feet long across a gorge and Ryan went first and landed safely on the other side. However when Heather went across something went wrong and she plunged around 500 feet into the jungle below. She did not expect to survive the fall but landed in some trees and when her husband heard her scream, he and employees from the excursion company ran to find her. When they found her he could see that her safety harness was only attached by one cable rather than two. She was lowered around 40 feet to the ground and then rushed to hospital by ambulance.
The hospital wanted to admit her but she did not want the cruise ship to leave without her and although badly injured and cut on the lower half of her body, she returned to the cruise ship. In addition as she did not speak Spanish she could not communicate with the medical staff at the hospital and preferred to be treated at home in Sonoma County.
On their return to San Pedro they drove to the Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital where it was discovered that as well as the flesh wounds to her body she had damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee which may need surgery.
The manager of the zip lining operation said that the cable did not break but just dropped lower than normal and maintained that Heather had not fallen as such, just descended as the line slackened, which Heather denies, alleging she was free falling.