Updated: Police Say Zip-Line Accident Caused by Helmet Strap

Jackson Roos, 12, was found dead Wednesday after he accidentally hanged himself on a zip line outside his home.

Editor's note: For information on memorial services for Jackson Roos, click here and here.


OUTSIDE SEATTLE --Update, Sept. 28: The King County Sheriff's Office has released a statement regarding the cause of the Redmond zip lining accident that claimed the life of 12-year-old Jackson Roos on Wednesday.

The boy was killed when a safety line attached to the zip line cable became caught in a strap in the back of his helmet, Sgt. Cindi West said in the statement. The catch caused the helmet strap to tighten around Roos' neck and cut off his air supply. 

"Detectives said the incident was a tragic accident and could not have been predicted," West's statement concluded. "The case is considered closed."


Update, 8:30 p.m.: The local sheriff's office identified the 12-year-old boy who accidentally hanged himself in a zip line accident Wednesday as Jackson Roos.

Kathryn Reith of the Lake Washington School District confirmed the boy was a student at Evergreen Middle School. Grief counselors will be available to students on Thursday, she said.


Original story, Sept. 26: A Redmond family is in mourning after a 12-year-old boy accidentally hanged himself on a zip line outside his home in unincorporated Redmond.

Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office said the boy's mother believed he was riding his bike and went to go find him when she needed to leave the home. She found her son caught by some sort of strap in the zip line and unresponsive, West said.

The Redmond Fire Department was the first to arrive on the scene in the 8800 block of 255th Ave. NE at around 2:30 p.m. The first responders cut the boy, whose name has not been released, from the zip line.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

West said the zip line was commercially manufactured and was being used for its intended purpose. It ran about 100 feet across the family's large yard, she said.

The incident is being investigated as an accident, West said.

The boy was found a few feet from the starting platform, which sits about 20 feet above the ground, West said, adding that it appears as though either a helmet strap or some sort of harness strap he was wearing became caught in the zip line.

The sheriff's major crimes unit will investigate the death, which is common for accidental children's deaths, West said.

This is the second incident in recent weeks in which a child has accidentally been killed while using a piece of play equipment. Last month, a 4-year-old girl accidentally strangled herself on a Sammamish playground.

West said it's important for parents to keep their children in close supervision, but there is only so much that can be done to prevent random accidents.

"There's potential to be injured no matter what you do," she said. "Bad things can happen with simple things."

Christy October 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Very tragic. I feel so terrible for this family.
Christy P. M October 01, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Very tragic. I feel so terrible for this family.
joe k October 02, 2012 at 12:14 AM
My message is only good. I love and care for children. I am not gonna respond to name calling.
don h October 02, 2012 at 05:49 PM
do kids do things that are unsafe? yes. i lost a dear sister years ago. we try to teach safety, hope they listen and then get on with life. my heart and prayers go the family and friends. we need to help each other get through this time of sadness.....don h.
Tony Titus October 03, 2012 at 02:46 AM
I have a 12 year old boy, and can only imagine the sorrow. God bless and keep you in this time of pain. It wasn't your fault - in the pursuit of allowing boys to grow up active, independent, playful, curious, and confident, they want to do adventurous things - you sound like wonderful parents and I'm sure Jackson was a wonderful boy. Carolyn, your words are wise, and you are clearly a parent.


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