Shocking new details recently emerged about the tragic death of a 10-year old boy at a Kansas water park earlier this week. According to one eyewitness who claims he saw the immediate aftermath of the incident, the young victim appeared to be decapitated as a result of the trauma suffered in the accident on the world’s tallest waterslide.
While the exact events of what unfolded are still not exactly clear, information continues to trickle in from others who rode the attraction that day. Parkgoers who went down the slide, called Verruckt, report the velcro harnesses meant to secure participants were coming undone.
Additionally, reports speculate whether or not the ride screen followed proper safety protocols by allowing the boy on the water slide in the first place. The ride requires riders be at least 54 inches tall and the craft have a weight of 400 to 550 pounds combined with three occupants aboard.
Visitors to the park that day divulged the child may not have met the height requirement and the vessel may not have met the required weight aboard for safe operation. Witnesses recently came forward to reveal the boy was accompanied by two female occupants, possibly leaving the craft dangerously underweight.
According to the designer of the world-record 168 foot water slide, owners placed the attraction in Kansas City, Kansas because the city has no height restrictions on rides. Although the park and ride engineers maintain the Verruckt was thoroughly vetted before opening to the public, the ride was plagued by issues from its inception.
Completed in July 2014, the attraction’s opening was delayed three separate times due to technical concerns with the ride’s safety. In fact, the designer found the ride to be too short and too step, prompting an overhaul of the water slide to modify the angles of the ride’s steep descent.
Described as a hybrid between a roller coaster and a waterslide, occupants strap themselves into a watercraft and are propelled over 50 miles per hour down the slide by a three to four second freefall. Riders then come up a hill before the craft settles in a pool of water.
The catastrophic accident that took this young boy’s life is just another tragic example of individuals playing hard and loose with the safety and security of ordinary people trying to enjoy themselves. At this point, authorities have initiated no criminal investigation into the circumstances of the accident and may never do so because the park’s owner cherry picked a location with few, if any regulations on amusement parks.
However, no absence of regulations excuses property owners and operators from their duty to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable injury. Known design flaws, improper maintenance, or failure to follow internal safety protocols could make amusement parks liable for serious injury or death of visitors.
The amusement park injury lawyers of The Cochran Firm, D.C. are stalwart in their commitment to public safety and holding wrongdoers accountable for their careless actions. If you or a loved one were seriously injury while at an amusement park or swimming pool, our office can investigate the causes of your accident and bring negligent parties to justice.
Fill out an online contact form with the details of your case or call our office during business hours at 202-682-5800 or at 1-800-THE FIRM (843-3476) to reach us 24 hours a day. You could be entitled to substantial compensation.