Firm faces charges over injured 'jungle surfer'

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The Independent Online

Criminal charges could be brought against an Australian "jungle surfing" company after an accident that left a British backpacker critically injured.

Criminal charges could be brought against an Australian "jungle surfing" company after an accident that left a British backpacker critically injured.

Lucy Keen, 24, fell 65ft (20m) from a tree-top platform as she was preparing to go jungle surfing on the Flying Fox tree canopy adventure ride at Cape Tribulation in the rainforests of northern Queensland.

Ms Keen, from Botley near Oxford, was airlifted to hospital in Cairns before being transferred to the larger Townsville general hospital. She is on a life-support machine with severe head injuries. Officials said she also suffered serious chest and internal injuries. Her parents have flown out to Australia and are at her bedside.

Safety officials and police are investigating the incident and Detective Sergeant Trevor Perham, from Mossman Police, said the force was considering bringing criminal charges. "We have interviewed witnesses, which has included asking questions of people involved in the management of the attraction," he said.

"We're still assessing the evidence. We're considering the possibility of criminal charges and we hope to conclude the investigation within the next few weeks." He would not comment on whether Ms Keen was on the platform or on the ride when the accident took place.

Jungle surfing is a relatively new activity for thrill-seekers. The ride is run by a group of biological scientists who wanted to open up to the public the unusual experience and method they use to survey flora and fauna high up in the treetops.

Participants can hang and move upside down along a series of interlinking steel cables strung between five platforms which are 90ft from the ground at their highest point. Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours has offered the ride since last August but has organised day and night walking tours of the rainforest for the past six years.

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