Local

Tri-City man dies in Hawaii zip line accident

Ted Callaway loved the adrenaline rush of his new job as a zip line installer in Hawaii.

"He was stoked about it," said Scott Atwood, his longtime best friend and fishing buddy in Kennewick.

But the thrill ended in tragedy this week when Callaway, 36, a Kennewick native who attended Kamiakin High School, fell 200 feet to his death after a zip line cable gave way Wednesday on the Big Island.

Callaway, who was making a test run on the half-mile long cable, plummeted into a lava canyon where he died from massive injuries.

The job didn't pay that well, Atwood said, but it offered the kind of adrenaline rush Callaway craved -- a chance to work in the outdoors and ride helicopters to stretch cables amid the spectacular scenery of the Aloha state.

"He was such a goer. I figured we'd never get to be old men. But I didn't expect this," said Atwood, whose friendship with Callaway went back three decades as schoolmates in Kennewick.

Callaway had been on the job three months and was planning on making Hawaii his home.

Instead, his body will be brought back next week so a funeral can be held in the Tri-Cities, said Callaway's father, Bill Callaway of Pasco.

The accident happened near Honoli'i, Hawaii.

Callaway and another employee of Go Zip were adjusting tension on a long zip line. The cable had been tightened to make for a faster ride and Callaway was making the first run. His co-worker stayed on a base tower during the test, but something gave way and the line went slack.

Callaway fell into the rocky creek bottom while his co-worker, Curtis Wright, 43, fell about 30 feet to the ground. Wright was seriously injured, according to Hawaiian news reports.

Atwood said Callaway was best man at his wedding.

"I just saw him on Labor Day weekend. He looked good. Me and Ted had been friends since third grade. We did our version of (Bill and) Ted's Excellent Adventures. Lived in a van, traveling throughout the Northwest, skateboarding all over the place. We went fishing everywhere," Atwood said.

"He was very outgoing and charismatic, especially with the ladies. People called him Teddy Bear," Atwood said.

"We're still trying to believe it. We're in shock," said wife Shanna Atwood.

Callaway had seven children, four of them with his ex-wife, said his father.

"He'd just come to visit and it was nice to see him. We said our goodbye without knowing it would be the last time," his father said.

Callaway worked in construction and as a flooring installer for many years in the Tri-Cities. He ended up in Hawaii after meeting someone from there while vacationing in Las Vegas.

He is survived by his father; mother, Ilene Callaway; brothers Tim and Tom Callaway; and sisters, Tammy Plunkett and Trisha Judd.

The zip line accident has prompted state officials to look into regulating the activity, which currently does not require a license or permit in Hawaii for setting up or operating zip lines, according to several Hawaiian news reports.

"It's my hope that something good comes out of this," said his father.

  Comments