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NC Zoo identifies arborist who died in accident, announces fund for his daughter

NC Zoo closes after employee killed in accident

The N.C. Zoo announced Thursday, July 18, 2019 that an employee had been killed in a workplace accident unrelated to the animals.
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The N.C. Zoo announced Thursday, July 18, 2019 that an employee had been killed in a workplace accident unrelated to the animals.

The North Carolina Zoo identified the arborist who died Thursday during an aerial rescue drill and announced a trust fund to support his 9-year-old daughter.

Branson Langley, 38, died during an aerial rescue drill, according to a North Carolina Zoo Facebook post Friday night.

“We will miss him, and we, as an organization, have decided to honor his memory and his life by establishing a trust fund to provide support to his precious 9-year-old daughter, Maggie,” according to the post on the NC Zoo Society’s Facebook page.

The drill involved Langley climbing a tree simulating the rescue of a trapped co-worker, as previously reported by The N&O. He fell 20 to 30 feet, the zoo said.

Branson Langley.jpg

Langley was a native of Randolph County, according to his obituary, and graduated from Sandhills Community College in 2002. He worked at the zoo for 10 years. He is survived by his wife, Alesia Macon Langley, and his daughter, Maggie Langley.

The trust fund was established for Maggie, to “further her education and help her achieve all the dreams that her father wished for her,” according to a post on the zoo’s Facebook page.

The Zoo Society is a nonprofit organization that supports the zoo, according to its Facebook page.

The accident happened before the zoo opened and remained closed Thursday. The zoo resumed operations Friday.

It was the first fatality since the zoo opened in 1974. The accident is under investigation by the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, the state Department of Labor and OSHA, according to The N&O.

Donations can be sent to The Maggie Fund, in care of The North Carolina Zoo Society, 4403 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC 27205. Online donations can be made at nczoo.com/.

Funeral services are July 21 at 2 p.m. at Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Liberty, where he was vice chairman of the church’s deacons, according to the obituary.

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.
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