Millionaire Dies in Rain Forest Restaurant Rappelling Accident

September 19, 2017 Updated: September 19, 2017

Millionaire businessman John Anderson fell to his death while celebrating his birthday in Costa Rica.

Anderson had just eaten at an ecolodge restaurant. The restaurant is situated on a platform that guests access via a zip line. To leave the restaurant, guest rappel down a tree, as if descending a mountain, Democrat & Chronicle reported. Anderson fell during the descent.

“He wasn’t on a rappelling adventure, he was just getting back to the ground from the tree,” said Anderson’s business partner James Ryan Jr., to Democrat and Chronicle. “There’s a safety system but for whatever reason it didn’t work.”

Anderson, a partner in Ryco Management and former CEO of Wilmorite, had over 30 years experience in real estate and banking. His career consisted of financing, building, developing, and acquiring properties. He also taught at the University of Rochester. He was in Costa Rica to celebrate his 65th birthday.

“John was really well respected,” said Ryan. “In many ways, he was private and not a person that everybody knew in that sense as a business leader. But he was an incredibly reliable partner and trustworthy. Just a very honorable person, especially in his business relationships.”

Ryan and Anderson have been business partners since 2000. The first met playing golf and basketball.

Rappelling is considered one of the most dangerous climbing activities, according to ThoughtCo. A climber depends on the security of their equipment to hold their weight stably and to avoid falling when rappelling down a waterfall, mountain, or in this case, tree.

The lodge Anderson was partying at is Pacuare Lodge, a top-rated ecolodge, which offers many outdoor activities in a natural rain forest setting. Anderson and his friends were dining on top of a Ceiba tree before the accident. They sat atop the tree’s expansive branches. Pacuare Lodge’s social media accounts have not yet mentioned the incident.

Anderson leaves behind four children.