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Climber Falls To Her Death In Grapevine

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) - A woman fell to her death Sunday at the Summit Climbing Gym in Grapevine. It happened at 5 p.m. at the facility located at 1040 Mustang Dr.

Witnesses told police the 52-year-old climber lost her grip and fell from a height of about 25 to 30 feet. She was taken by CareFlite to Parkland Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

Susan Mailloux (credit: Texas Department of Public Safety)

Grapevine police said the woman wasn't hooked up properly to the gym's auto belay system. In the case of single climbers, an auto belay device that does exactly as its name states, automatically belaying the climbing rope without the need for a second person. The auto belay system works to pick up any rope slack as a climber accents the rock face as well as controls the slack when a climber is heading back down towards the climbing base. These pieces of climbing equipment are able to lock without the assistance of a person when a significant amount of weight is applied. This helps the auto belay lock in the instance of a fall while otherwise allowing the climber to move freely up or down the rock face.

"I'm being told the actual climber signs a waiver and they are responsible for having someone else there to either  belay them or for them to tie themselves up to this auto belay system while they are climbing," said Grapevine Police Sgt. Robert Eberling.

Police said they are investigating whether or not the woman was given the proper equipment. Police are also asking employees about the procedures required on site before a person can climb.

They are withholding the woman's identity until her family is notified.

Summit Climbing Gym closed after the incident. The owner of the gym, Kyle Clinkscales said they're "heart broken for the family" of the climber.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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