Zip line popularity soars along with injuries, study finds

Families have gathered at the Seafarers Union Hall Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Jacksonville, Fla., waiting for news on the crew of 33 aboard the missing cargo ship El Faro. The ship has not been heard from since it lost power and was taking on water in seas churned up by Hurricane Joaquin. (Bruce Lipsky/Florida Times-Union via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — A new study says zip line injuries are soaring, as the activity grows in popularity.

Researchers say over a 16-year period, from 1997-2012, nearly 17,000 people were treated for zip line-related injuries including broken bones, cuts and sprains. And most of those injuries happened in the last four years of the study.

The study published in Monday’s American Journal of Emergency Medicine is the first national look at zip line injuries. Researchers analyzed a national injury database operated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Their study says most injuries happened at commercial courses, camps and other non-residential places. And about 30 percent were from zip lines in backyards or farms. Injuries were most common in children and teens.

Researchers say a uniform set of safety standards and effective oversight is needed. But industry representatives say the study is alarmist and that zip lines are safer than driving a car.

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